Caritas Anchor House

Working at the heart of homelessness

NHS Mobile Health Unit visits Caritas Anchor House

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NHS Mobile Health Unit visits Caritas Anchor House

9th March 2017
Ahead of World TB Day on 24th March, Caritas Anchor House has hosted a visit from an NHS Mobile Health Unit who carried out a TB screening and administered Hepatitis B and flu jabs to our residents.

Over 40 residents and community members attend the screening, which was the second to take place at Caritas Anchor House in the past 12 months. Both NHS staff and our Lifestyle Architects were on hand to guide the participants through the process, where they had instant chest x-rays taken which looked for early signs of TB and other health ailments. Following the screening, if any of our residents required referrals to a local chest clinic, the NHS team were on hand to support them. A number of residents also attended to receive a final booster injection for Hepatitis B and to get a flu jab.

Speaking of the turnout Dr Al Story, Clinical Lead and Manager for Find&Treat at University College Hospitals said “A big thank you to Caritas Anchor House’s excellent efforts in maximising uptake of our recent public health screening event on 1st March. Their service provides an invaluable opportunity for good partnership working with the NHS Mobile Health Unit and enables vulnerable people to access essential care that they would otherwise struggle to reach.”

The NHS Mobile Health Unit provides a range of health screenings to vulnerable populations, and is much needed in Newham, a borough which has the highest rates of TB in the UK.

Keith Fernett, Chief Executive of Caritas Anchor House, said “As homeless people are particularly at risk of contracting TB, and Newham – where we are based – has the highest rate of TB in the country, we recognise the importance of providing screenings like this to our resident group. At Caritas Anchor House, we put our resident’s welfare at the centre of all that we do and continually look to support and improve their health.” 

Caritas Anchor House provides a home and support to up to 140 homeless people every day. The visit from the Mobile Health Unit forms part of our Aspirations Programme, which helps each individual in their journey from homelessness to independent living. A key part of the programme is address the health and wellbeing of our residents.

Find out more about TB in Newham

Newham has the highest TB rate in England. In 2015, there were 250 confirmed cases of TB. The rate of TB was 75.1 per 100,000 population compared to the national average of 10.5 per 100,000.

TB can either be latent or active. It is a bacterial infection spread by breathing in tiny droplets from the coughs or sneezes of someone with active TB. People have to spend prolonged periods, normally over eight hours in close contact with someone with active TB to catch the infection.

Latent TB is when a person has the bacteria in their body but does not show any symptoms and does not feel unwell. A person with latent TB cannot pass the infection on and it can be treated with a course of antibiotics.  However, if untreated a person with latent TB can become ill with active TB later on, which is contagious. This is why people invited to TB screening are being urged to attend.

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