SOMERSET'S Homeless and Rough Sleeper Nursing Service has won a prestigious award at the NHS Parliamentary Awards.

Homelessness Health was the overall winner in the Health Equalities category, after having been nominated by Taunton Deane MP, Rebecca Pow. The awards ceremony was held in London yesterday (Wednesday, July 5).

The service aims to provide healthcare to those sleeping on the streets or not having a permanent address. People that are homeless or vulnerably housed often face significant barriers when it comes to accessing healthcare.

The council say that drugs or alcohol difficulties, mental health issues and trauma can be common amongst the homeless population.

The service, which is supported by Inclusion Health GPs, is funded by NHS Somerset, Somerset NHS Foundation Trust and Somerset Council. 

Funding has recently been secured from NHS England to add a mental health service to the existing provision.

GP, Laura Devlin, said: “We are delighted to have been able to join colleagues from Somerset NHS Foundation Trust and Somerset Council to collect this prestigious award on behalf of the Somerset Rough Sleepers and Homelessness Service.”

GP, Lisa Horman, said: “This innovative joined up approach has allowed us to provide an exceptional health and wellbeing offer for this incredibly vulnerable group of adults in Somerset with a focus on prevention, early intervention and treatment for both their physical and mental health.”

Karen George, clinical lead for the Homelessness Health in Somerset Service at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, added: “Whether it’s a park bench in Taunton, a field in Wincanton, or one of the hostels in Yeovil, we will deliver care to those who need it, in a location that works for those experiencing homelessness.”

Professor Trudi Grant, executive director of Public and Population Health, joint appointment between Somerset Council and NHS Somerset, concluded: “It is an incredible achievement to have won this prestigious award.  Working in this joined-up way is so important when it comes to working with vulnerable groups. 

"Everyone involved should be incredibly proud of winning this award, as I am.”