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Practices call for extra cash to give homeless better care

GPs have called on the Government to give practices extra cash so they can provide homeless people with the same service as the general public.

The plea came after a report by the charity Crisis found homeless people were 40 times less likely to be registered with a GP.

Over half of the 100 homeless people interviewed by the charity had no contact with a GP in the past year. Two out of five had used A&E instead.

Four out of five of 104 GPs interviewed said they thought it was far more difficult for homeless people to register with their practice.

The GPs blamed lack of time and resources, the attitudes of surgery staff or homeless people's inability to cope with the working practices of GP surgeries.

Crisis called on the Department of Health to run a campaign to make practices aware that homeless people without a fixed abode can register under the surgery's address.

Honorary secretary of the RCGP Dr Maureen Baker said the GP shortage was adding to the problem. 'Many doctors are not taking on new patients, with or without an address,' she said.

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