Prison leavers, people experiencing homelessness are just some of the groups who are regularly experiencing issues accessing GP and healthcare services according to new Nacro research.
This is because they are less likely than most to have proof of ID or proof of address, which over 40% of GP surgeries we surveyed said was a requirement to register as a patient.
However, neither proof of ID nor proof of address are needed to register under NHS official guidance.
It was particularly disappointing to note that 58% of GP practices rated as ‘good’ said they required proof of address to register a prison leaver, and even more disappointingly that four out of the five GP practices rated as ‘outstanding’ also still required proof of address.
Why does it matter?
During Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspections, a practice is assessed on its safety, care, responsiveness, and inclusivity. Considering the above data findings, we would question whether the needs of marginalised groups are fully considered in CQC inspections.
People in prison have higher health needs than the wider population, with a higher prevalence of infectious diseases, mental health issues and substance misuse issues.
A lack of health support can lead to further offending. If people coming out of prison are unable to access the support and medication that they need, they are more likely to fall back into old patterns of behaviour: for example, returning to depending on illegal substances and committing crimes to support those needs.
Nacro runs wellbeing support services which help people leaving prison access healthcare services, housing, mental health support and more.