GP practice to run ‘warm bank’ for cold and hungry locals

20th September 2022 by NASGP

GP practice to run ‘warm bank’ for cold and hungry locals

From 1 October 2022, The Project Surgery in Newham will open a room between 1pm and 3pm for local people to drop in to get warm and have some soup, The Independent reports.

The ‘warm bank’ will be run by Dr Farzana Hussain, a local GP, and will provide space for up to 16 people.

She told The Independent: “If you asked me in my 21st year as a GP did I ever think I was going to be in this position and thinking about providing food? It’s a horrible place we’re in but without food and warmth how can we have health?

“All my medical training isn’t going to help anybody when my elderly patient has already got hypothermia.

“We’re living in one of the most iconic cities in the world, I never thought I would see this. I would never have thought that we might face a day where we might get a call saying one of our patients has died of starvation or hypothermia. That’s the moral injury. I don’t want it to happen but if it did I would not be surprised and that’s a horrific thing to be contemplating.”

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “This story says so much about the generosity of GPs, but also reaches deep into the problems we’re facing of an integrated health and welfare system that is at breaking point. Whether other GP practices follow this example or not, surgery waiting rooms will be seen as safe spaces for those in similar circumstances – whether they have an appointment or not.

“This winter we will face extra demand, above and beyond what we’d been planning post-pandemic. With hunger and inadequate shelter, we know there will be more ill patients to accommodate.

“Our advice to sessional GP GPs is as always to keep in regular contact with colleagues through local groups and chambers for peer support as progress through winter.”


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