“Every time I visit Luther Street, I leave with increased hope” reads a handwritten note in highlighter pen at the Luther Street, a GP practice that has spent the last 30 years caring for Oxford’s homeless population. It has recently been rated as ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission.
Earlier this month, Peter Blackburn from the British Medical Association spoke to Stephen Moore, the practice manager, and wrote about the important work that Luther Street does.
“The fundamental aim is to keep these guys alive, maintain their healthcare and empower them towards recovery,” Stephen said. “There’s a life out there and there’s opportunities.”
It is a sentiment echoed by Eve Gibb, a nurse who retired this month from Luther Street after 30 years working with the homeless population of Oxford.
“You have to remember that for the people we see, 47 is old: 47 is an age you can die at on the street and we are keeping people alive,” she said. (Find out more about how Luther Street bid farewell to Eve.)
Peter Blackburn’s report charts the history of Luther Street, discusses the economic and moral argument for nationwide services on the same mode, and talks to long-standing staff such as Eve who provide healthcare services to people who would otherwise fall through the cracks of society.
It also uncovers the stories of people such as GP Kate Smith, who said: “I came here for a day as a registrar and had something of an epiphany: I just realised that this was what I wanted to do.”