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9th August 2012
Daniel Kane, Business Manager at Maple Access, in the medical suite
Access to health services for vulnerable patients is being improved with regular drop in clinics.
Patients including homeless, sex workers, and those with drug and alcohol addiction problems, can access the clinics, which are being funded by NHS Nene Clinical Commissioning Group's (CCG) Northampton Central Locality.
The drop-ins are held on Wednesday mornings and Thursday mornings and afternoons and include access to a GP, nurse, and support for those with mental health, drug and alcohol addiction problems.
The clinics are held at Oasis House, a new purpose built multi-agency centre that brings together health, housing and education and training, so that there is a one stop shop for people who sometimes struggle to access the support they need.
Daniel Kane, Business Manager at Maple Access practice, which provides the drop in clinics on behalf of Nene CCG, said: "The demand for the services provided by Maple Access has really grown over the last ten years, from around 50 patients when it was first set up, to the 5,500 patients we currently see.
"The clinics really help vulnerable people to access health services and combined with other services at Oasis House, can really help people get their life back on track.
"As a practice, last year we spent £20,000 on A&E attendances, so it is hoped that by making health services more accessible to these patients it will also have an impact on A&E admissions."
Neville Pettit is a Mental Health Nurse who has worked with many local vulnerable groups and been involved with the Hope Centre (where services now based at Oasis House were previously delivered) for more than 25 years.
Neville said: "The drop in sessions are quite intense, but very rewarding.
"It does make a big difference having all the services under one roof and now there is a GP and nurse going down there regularly the patients can get their prescriptions there and then without having to go elsewhere. There is a dedicated medical room and we have access to patient notes now as well. There really should be something like this in every community."
Dr Kamal Sood, GP Chair for Northampton Central Locality for Nene CCG, said: "I am very proud that our locality is able to be associated with the work that goes on at Oasis House and the Maple Access Partnership. They have made such a difference to people who are often seen as being on the fringes of society and who may feel there are social barriers to mainstream healthcare."
Alongside Nene, other partners involved with Maple Access and Oasis House are Northampton Borough Council, Northampton Hope Centre, Hope Enterprises, N.A.A.S.H (accommodation support), and Midland Heart (housing and care provider).
In addition to the medical room at Oasis House, there is are 39 self contained 'move on' apartments to help those trying to get back into mainstream housing, 9 emergency access units for those in crisis, arts and crafts room, I.T. suite, training, meeting and interview rooms, and a courtyard garden.
For those interested, training is provided in a range of subjects from catering to IT, and via Hope Enterprises, users of Oasis House are also able to become involved in business ventures.