City surgery for vulnerable people named in national scheme

City Reach has become the first surgery in Norfolk to join the Safe Surgeries scheme. Photo: NCHC

City Reach has become the first surgery in Norfolk to join the Safe Surgeries scheme. Photo: NCHC - Credit: NCHC

City Reach, a service provided by Norfolk Community Health and Care (NCHC) for people who find it difficult to visit mainstream GP services, has become the first in Norfolk to join the national Safe Surgeries scheme.

It is a commitment to provide equal access to health services for everyone, regardless of their immigration status.

City Reach, based in Norwich, provides primary healthcare services for people who are not registered with a family doctor. Some of their patients are from overseas, others may be homeless, sex workers, prisoners and ex-offenders, substance users or travellers.

Signing up to the Safe Surgeries scheme means making a public declaration that everyone living in England has the right to free care from a GP or primary care nurse and that people living here who are not UK citizens can feel confident to ask for help if they need it.

Lead clinician at City Reach, Queen's nurse Tracy Williams, said: 'Everyone living in the UK is entitled to register and consult with a GP or practice nurse. It means we can prevent and treat illness early and create a healthier society for everyone.'

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A Safe Surgery can be any GP practice which commits to taking steps to tackle the barriers faced by many migrants in accessing healthcare.

Safe Surgeries is a scheme promoted by Doctors of the World, an international humanitarian organisation meeting the health needs of vulnerable people in the UK and overseas. In the UK, it runs clinic and advocacy programmes in London that provide medical care, information and practical support to excluded people such as destitute migrants, sex workers and people with no fixed address.

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