Centre's co-located services improve healthcare access for homeless in Newcastle

New Fuse research highlights the positive impact that one community Centre has had in co-locating health services in one place to support people experiencing homelessness in Newcastle.

The study conducted by researchers from Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, in collaboration with Tyne Housing offers valuable insights into the operational aspects of the Joseph Cowen Health Centre in Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne.

It is hoped that the published report will contribute to the ongoing efforts to improve healthcare strategies for those experiencing homelessness in Newcastle. 

People experiencing homelessness often encounter significant barriers when accessing health and social care support in their communities and recent reports emphasise that the challenges are multifaceted, extending beyond housing alone. The Joseph Cowen Health Centre has been a longstanding example of integrated and coordinated care in the North East, offering a range of services through its drop-in facility.

Managed by Tyne Housing and operated in partnership with NHS North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board and Newcastle City Council, the Centre serves as a beacon of hope for individuals without housing or GP registration. Offering services such as food bank vouchers, bathing facilities and clothing, it is a vital lifeline to those in need. 

The research, conducted between June and September 2023, involved discussions with 14 service providers operating from the Centre, who shared their perspectives on what worked well and what could be improved in delivering services. 

Key findings from the evaluation highlight the positive impact of co-locating services in one place, which facilitated increased engagement and access for individuals in need. 

Emma Adams, National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Doctoral Research Fellow led the project with Sheena Ramsay, Director of Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health. 

Emma said: “This research was motivated by the need to address the health disparities faced by individuals experiencing homelessness. 

“The Joseph Cowen Health Centre serves as a model for collaborative approaches in delivering holistic care, and this research highlights the positive impact of the Centre. 

“It has been great to work alongside Tyne Housing on this project, and our collaboration has provided valuable insights into the challenges and successes of delivering health and wellbeing services in a community-based setting. We hope that the findings will contribute to enhancing support systems for those experiencing homelessness and improve their access to essential care.” 

Steve McKinlay, chief executive of Tyne Housing, said: “At Tyne, we always strive to improve and enhance our services for those we support, and the Joseph Cowen Health Centre offers a safe space for people to access a diverse range of services. 

“Collaborating with Emma and Sheena on this research has been invaluable in understanding the effectiveness of the Centre and highlighting areas for improvement.” 

The research ‘Exploring what works well and less well in a community-based drop-in delivery model providing health and wellbeing services for people experiencing homelessness’ is available to view online here.

The study was funded by the Newcastle University Faculty of Medical Sciences Research Excellence Development Award Scheme (REDA).

Last modified: Fri, 19 Apr 2024 12:48:39 BST