A young woman behind a GP receptionist desk, smiling and looking helpful.

A new homelessness training package for GP receptionists will be launched this week at Homelessness and Health, the international symposium of Pathway and the Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health.

Over 70% of people who are homeless have physical health problems, yet many are wrongly turned away from surgeries at the front desk because they do not have proof of address. People who are homeless attend A&E five times more often than the general population.

Everyone in the UK has a right to register with a GP, and proof of address is not required. The new video and training package is based upon current NHS England Guidance.  It offers simple tips to support patients and shows how important a doctor can be for a person who has lost their home.

Pathway produced the package with Experts by Experience and actors from Cardboard Citizens, on behalf of the NHS Healthy London Partnership.

Click here to view the video and find out more


Learning Bursaries for Homeless and Inclusion Health

Lankelly Chase Foundation and Pathway are proud to announce a limited number of learning bursaries for The International Symposium on Homeless and Inclusion Health 2017.  The places are intended for:

  • Lower grade front line clinicians whose organisations cannot find funding to attend the event.
  • People with lived experience of homelessness.
  • Colleagues working in isolated services or settings. 

The funding includes the conference, lunches and teas, and and unlimited access to the online videos after the symposium.  It does not include travel or accommodation (which can be arranged for £100 B&B inc VAT at the conference hotel).

To apply for a place please email Katrina.wright@neilstewartassociates.co.uk and send a short request (100 words  or fewer) explaining why you want to attend the conference, and why you should receive a free place. Applications for free places must be received by Friday 2nd December at the latest.

The International Symposium on Homeless and Inclusion Health brings together 250 health and social care professionals, commissioners, researchers and Experts by Experience supporting healthcare for vulnerable and excluded patients. Details of the 5th event and videos from previous years can be found at www.HomelessnessandHealth.co.uk.  The next event will be held on Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd March 2017 in the ILEC Conference Centre, Earls Court, London.


Help Change the Face of Commissioning

As healthcare professionals we operate in a landscape shaped by commissioning. The Faculty of Homeless and Inclusion Health is seeking exceptional people to guide that process.

Five years ago the Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health published the first Inclusion Health Standards for Commissioners and Service Providers.  The document encapsulates the collected wisdom of Faculty members and provides a best practice guide to commissioning of health services for vulnerable groups. Later versions were endorsed by both the Royal College Physicians and the College of Medicine.

The next version of the standards will be published in Spring 2017. We are looking for frontline inclusion health practitioners in every area to volunteer to help update the standards.

If you would like to be involved in this work please review the current standards and contact us to find out more.

Pathway wins the Kate Granger Award

Kate Granger Awards 2016

We are delighted to announce that Pathway has won the 2016 Kate Granger award for compassionate care.

Chris Pointon, Kate Granger’s husband, read the result and we were presented with the award by NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens in front of an audience of health service colleagues at the NHS Expo in Manchester.

This is a huge honour for all the Pathway teams working day-in-day-out with homeless patients in hospital, and a recognition of their hard work and dedication to helping socially excluded people.

Click here to download our press release about the award

Image: Kate Granger Awards 2016 (l-r Chris Pointon, husband of Kate Granger; Samantha Dorney-Smith, Alex Bax and Stan Burridge, Pathway; Simon Stevens, Chief Executive NHS England)

Pathway Shortlisted for the Kate Granger Awards

Pathway Teams at the International Symposium for Homeless and Inclusion Health
Pathway Teams at the International Symposium for Homeless and Inclusion Health

Pathway and 11 homeless healthcare teams across the country are finalists in the Kate Granger Compassionate Care Awards 2016. The team faced competition from 135 other entries to become one of 9 shortlisted nominees.

Medical Director Dr Nigel Hewett OBE said:

“Pathway helps homeless people by bringing together professionals in hospitals. Over 3000 patients every year rely on the kindness, compassion and expertise of Pathway teams across the country. We are delighted that their hard work has been recognised”

Kate Granger was a Consultant Geriatrician and campaigner for better patient care. After being diagnosed with cancer she began the “#hellomynameis” campaign, encouraging healthcare staff to introduce themselves to patients before beginning treatment.

Sadly Kate died earlier this year, but before her death she chose the winners of the awards she helped to set up.

The awards will presented by Kate’s husband at the NHS Expo on 7th September.

National Homeless Health Symposium 2017

Early Bird Bookings Are Open!

Delegates at the 2016 Homeless Health SymposiumBooking is now open for the 5th International Symposium on Homeless and Inclusion Health. The event, taking place in London 1–2 March 2017, already has confirmed speakers from the CQC and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges.

Discounts are available for members of The Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health, NHS staff, Local Authorities and charities.

Save up to £75 when you book before the end of September.


Call for Papers

For the first time the event will include opportunities for health and social care practitioners to submit data and papers for presentation. Get in touch if you’d like to present your team’s work.  One recent delegate said:

“Great meeting of minds, incredible networking opportunities and so much learning done!”

Book your tickets today

See pictures from the 2016 event

See videos of the plenary sessions

Listen to podcasts of the seminars


The International Symposium on Homeless and Inclusion Health

Challenging Healthcare, Changing Lives

Richard Wilkinson speaks at the International Symposium on Homeless and Inclusion Health
Keynote speaker Richard Wilkinson

Two rainy days in London in March 2016 brought together 300 doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, experts by experience, support workers, commissioners and researchers, united by a single passion: helping vulnerable patients.

The event attracted speakers from all over the world, including:

  • Jane Dacre, President of the Royal College of Physicians
  • Dennis Culhane, Professor of Social Policy at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Professor Richard Wilkinson Professor Emeritus of Social Epidemiology at the University of Nottingham Medical School.
  • Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Director of the Institute of Health Equity, President of the World Medical Association

Audiences in 5 locations across the UK and Ireland joined the debate through remote access. The programme included an impressive 16 unique workshops,  including the implications of novel psychoactive substances, work with gypsy and traveller communities, commissioning services and end of life care for homeless patients.

Our team of Experts by Experience co-chaired many of the sessions, offering unique insight from people who have lived through homelessness and exclusion. As one delegate said:

“Great meeting of minds, incredible networking opportunities and so much learning done!”

Early Bird Bookings 2017

Delegates at the 2016 International Symposium on Homeless and Inclusion Health

The 5th International Symposium on Homeless and Inclusion Health will take place on 1st – 2nd March 2017.  Early Bird bookings are open until the end of September!

For the first time this year’s event will include opportunities for health and social care practitioners to submit papers for presentation. Get in touch if you’d like to present your team’s work.

See pictures from the 2016 event

See videos of the plenary sessions

Listen to podcasts of the seminars


The Passing of a Friend, Alister Ferguson

Alister Ferguson
Alister’s portrait from the Stories of Rebirth Project

Pathway ‘Expert by Experience’ Alister Ferguson has passed away at the age of 57.

Alister became involved with Pathway in 2013, and made a large contribution to the development of the EbE programme. His great honesty made him a fantastic example of the way that people with a ‘lived experience’ bring that missing ingredient to the table. He represented Pathway on many occasions, and was a regular face at International Symposium on Homeless and Inclusion Health.

Alister spent a large part of his childhood in children’s homes and his history of homelessness went back to the 1970’s. Despite this difficult history, he focused on the positive, and would often wax-lyrical about his exploits, good and bad. It was easy to be charmed by his ability to bring humour seamlessly into his story-telling.

His lively lectures with year 1 and 2 medical students means that doctors of the future will have a greater understanding of the needs of homeless and excluded people.

His hard-hitting education work with the Stories of Rebirth project helped to challenge public opinions about homelessness.

Alister proudly displaying his invitation to the House of Lords

As a result of his work he was invited for tea at the House of Lords with Lord Victor Adebowale, Chief Executive of Turning Point, a moment he later said was one of his best experiences.

Alister recently took part in discussions about Pathway’s approach to including Experts by Experience, making valuable contributions from his insights over the last 3 years. We have compiled this work into a handbook for  involving people with lived experience of homelessness in the running of services. It is fitting that such an important step forward for us as an organisation has Alister’s input so heavily embedded in it.

The whole team are shocked at this sad news.  We can only reflect on the difference he made to our work, and the privilege we feel that he gave so much and allowed us to be part of his life for a while.

His legacy will live on.

Stan Burridge, Expert by Experience Project Lead

Pathway in the BMJ

A Voice From the Streets about Spice

A hand rolled cigarette on a table Pathway Experts by Experience have been working with the British Medical Journal (BMJ) to help doctors recognise and understand the effects of street drugs known as ‘novel psychoactive substances’, and spot their use in patients.

‘Spice’, one of the most common ‘legal highs’, is known to lower inhibitions and heighten senses, but can also cause uncontrolled vomiting, hallucinations and violent outbursts. The drug is cheap and easily available, leading to high levels of use amongst homeless people seeking a way to escape their life circumstances.

Ian Millar, the author of the article, is a formerly homeless person who is now working in hostels and day centres. He is part of Pathway’s Expert by Experience (EbE) programme,  which trains and supports people who have been homeless to educate healthcare professionals about patient care.  Ian told the BMJ

“Last March I visited a hostel with 70 residents, four of whom were regular users of Spice. This year I stayed in a hostel with 30 residents, and more than half were daily users.

Homeless health specialists have voiced concern about the drug which also impacts upon anti-retroviral medication, raising added concerns abut users with HIV. It also interacts with antidepressants and other mental health medication.

Pathway Lead GP Chris Sargeant said:

“Novel psychoactive substances are highly variable, both in strength and the content, making it almost impossible to predict their exact effects. We have seen a worrying rise in suicide levels amongst homeless people who are heavy users, which may warrant further investigation.”

Dr Sargeant will be leading an RCP accredited CPD day on this and other important issues for members of the Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health later this year. For details email info@pathway.org.uk

Read the BMJ article

Read more about Pathway teams and their work

And The Winner Is… Pathway!

Pathway’s Winning Awards!

An image of a smiling nurse, Florence Cumberbatch.
Florence Cumberbatch, Homelessness Nurse

It’s been a great first half of the year at Pathway, with awards all round. Nurse Florence Cumberbatch, who is part of the UCLH Pathway Team was awarded a commendation as Employee of the Month, following nomination by numerous staff and colleagues. Florence has been part of the team working exclusively with homeless patients since 2009. Her dedication and hard work have helped hundreds of patients recover from illnesses and injuries resulting from homelessness.

Pathway volunteer Elizabeth Clowes was awarded a Highly Commended in the Small Charities Coalition awards for Britain’s Best Volunteer. Her extraordinary work, creating tools to help frontline professionals assess the mental health of people sleeping on the streets, saw her reach the final 20 applicants of the competition.  Read more about Elizabeth’s work.

Last week Pathway won the London Learning Consortium (LLC) Employer of the Year Award.  Pathway has worked with LLC since 2013, we were nominated for our work training formerly homeless people to become with Care Navigators for homeless hospital patients.

And Giving Them too!

We’ve also been giving awards. Two honorary fellowships to the Faculty of Homeless and Inclusion Health were presented at this year’s International Symposium. Nurse Jane Grey and Dr Les Goldman were recognised for their career-long commitment to healthcare for homeless people.

These awards not only reward and acknowledge the hard work and incredible compassion we see from clinicians every day, but demonstrate the important role of inclusion health in continuing a long tradition of fairness in the NHS.