Analysis And Comment Primary care

Project: London—supporting vulnerable populations

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.332.7533.115 (Published 12 January 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:115
  1. Karen McColl, director ([email protected])1,
  2. Sarah Pickworth, trustee1,
  3. Isabelle Raymond, manager, Project: London1
  1. 1 Médecins du Monde UK, London E14 5AA
  1. Correspondence to: K McColl

    This month the medical humanitarian organisation Médecins du Monde UK launches Project: London, an initiative to help vulnerable migrants, homeless people, and female sex workers to access health care. The founders of the initiative explain why this is needed

    Providing health care to marginalised groups is an integral part of Médecins du Monde's work in developed and developing countries. This has been made possible over the past 25 years through the voluntary commitment of health professionals. Médecins du Monde began to provide health care to vulnerable people in Europe 20 years ago in France, when some of the doctors and nurses returning from volunteering overseas realised that people in their own country had no access to health care. The Médecins du Monde European network now runs healthcare projects in Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden.

    What Project: London will do

    Project: London will help people to access health care through its teams of trained volunteers, who will provide people with information, advice, and practical support to access mainstream health services. By working with, and in the premises of, three partner organisations, we are targeting vulnerable migrants, homeless people, and female street sex workers. Priority will be given to people not registered with a general practitioner or who have been denied access to health care. Specially trained support workers will inform people about how to access and use mainstream services, providing information in the service user's own language if necessary. They will help people to register with a general practitioner and to access specialist services such as dental care or counselling. The volunteers will also advocate on behalf of service users if they struggle to access services by making phone calls, organising interpreting services, or accompanying people to their appointments. People coming to Project: London will be able to discuss their health concerns …

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