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GP surgeries to host foodbanks in local scheme

GP surgeries in Greater Manchester are being encouraged to set up food banks to help patients in need.

From this week, practices in Ashton-under-Lyne, Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale and Stockport will be suggested to place a box in their surgery for people to donate food and essential products.

The initiative is proposed by a charity called Homeless-Friendly, which was set up by Dr Zahid Chauhan, a GP in Oldham, and launched by Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham.

The charity has stated that the aim is for practices to help alleviate poverty and health problems associated with poor diet seen in patients.

As part of the initiative, posters will be displayed in practices to highlight what items can be donated.

Homeless-Friendly has said practices can also work with their local authority to ensure the food donated is appropriate.

Furthermore, a member of practice staff will be nominated to manage the food bank and will be asked to discretely note who uses the bank and will pass on any concerns of patients using it to a GP.

Dr Chauhan said it is important to note the results of not eating or eating poorly, given that the impact of malnutrition in terms of obesity has been ‘well-documented’.

He said: ‘Perhaps people will say that we have come to a pretty point when practices have to try and help feed the hungry. But with community centres disappearing and pubs and places of worship closing, they are one of the last remaining hubs of the community.

‘By staging a foodbank, surgeries are not only improving health but taking a lead in raising awareness of the crippling poverty many people are now living in.’

Earlier this year, research suggested that people living in poor areas face greater health inequalities when it comes to just accessing GP appointments.

Pulse has previously reported GPs increasingly referring patients to food banks. A Pulse survey of almost 700 GPs found that over one in five GPs had been asked to refer a patient to a food bank in that year.

Readers' comments (8)

  • This is an April fool right?

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  • Why? We’re doctors, not social workers. We only want people turning up for genuine medical need, not loitering around our “community hub”. It’s disrespectful to those in the waiting room. Too much virtue signalling not enough getting on with our day job.

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  • Wrong. General practice IS social work, has been for couple of decades

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  • you can stock peoples larders when you visit to service their boilers - whats not to like

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  • Mixing social care with medicine is dangerous. Would you get a complaint/sued/reported to GMC if the food is past it's best or someone fell trying to get the food or suffers an allergic reaction by food issued from a GP surgery? Too risky to do anything these days.

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  • This Gov pledges millions to natural disasters abroad ..... which is honourable ..
    but bit sad when people at home are
    facing homelessness...
    and going without food...
    charity has to start at home...

    bring back free milk and fruit at schools

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  • Would be interesting to note whether benefits
    are squandered on booze fags betting
    to the detriment of dependent family members
    kids etc
    A voucher system may be better
    For use at key stores
    and only for specific items

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  • TORY Austerity.. when will it end ?

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