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Motivations and barriers of homeless people accessing and using primary care services


Project Description

This PhD project is based in Hull York Medical School.

Being homeless significantly increases a person’s risk of numerous health issues including mental health problems and chronic diseases. These are often frustrated by difficulties accessing primary healthcare services and medication, and in maintaining self-care alongside daily priorities of managing food and shelter.

The barriers to homeless people using primary care services include practical issues, feeling excluded and feeling stigmatised by staff and other patients. This means that many homeless people do not receive the medication and care to which they are entitled.

The aim of this research is to understand the barriers and facilitators of homeless people accessing primary care services through a small number of longitudinal case studies.

The research will involve recruiting patients discharged from the homeless healthcare services and those trying to register with a general practice. Repeat interviews with patients and nominated support workers will be part of the case development. Interviews may also be conducted with primary care providers to explore their experiences and to look for opportunities for training and educational needs.

Interested applicants should contact Dr Paul Whybrow () or Professor Joanne Reeve (Project Lead) () for additional details.

More about this research team

The aim of this interdisciplinary research cluster is to better understand and improve healthcare services for homeless people in the UK. Three distinct PhDs will examine homeless healthcare service users with particular attention to hospital admissions and discharge, experiences of homelessness, barriers to self-care, and access to primary care services.

Homeless people are more likely than the general population to be victims of violent crime and abuse and significantly at more risk of numerous health issues including mental health problems, substance misuse, chronic diseases, skin problems, infectious diseases and oral health problems. These issues are frustrated by difficulties accessing primary healthcare services or feeling stigmatised by healthcare providers. Improved homeless healthcare provision has the potential to avoid premature deaths and significantly improve the lives of homeless people in the UK. Homeless Healthcare Hull is an exciting opportunity for three candidates to undertake doctoral research into this challenging but crucially important area.

As members of the Academy of Primary Care and Institute for Clinical and Applied Health Research, you will join a vibrant research environment with dedicated facilities and resources. You will be based at the award-winning Allam Medical Building where you will be supported by an interdisciplinary supervisory team with expertise in generalist medicine, patient-centred care, drug addiction, victimisation, alcohol dependence, long-term conditions, social inclusion and health inequalities. Your doctoral research will make use of our collaborative connections with primary care networks, local hospitals, Hull City Council and homeless healthcare services.

Applicants for this project need to apply through the University of York website. Please select PhD in Medical Sciences with a start date of “2020 October, full time” and quote the specific project title you wish to apply for.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have at least a 2.1 undergraduate degree related to health sciences, sociology, psychology or social work, together with relevant research experience. It is anticipated that the successful applicant will, ideally, have a 1st class undergraduate degree and Masters level qualification.

Applicants should indicate their preferred project and submit a research proposal (approx. 1500-2000 words) with their application. There is scope to develop the project in accordance with an individual applicant’s disciplinary interests and experience.

Successful applicants will be informed of the award as soon as possible and by 16 March 2020 at the latest.

Scholarships will start on 21 September 2020.

Funding Notes

This is a funded scholarship over a three year period for full-time study. The funding you receive will cover the fees for your PhD programme and also an annual maintenance grant at the level of UKRI (£15,009 in 2019/20).

There is an optional writing up period if you need to complete your thesis after the three year period of your research degree, for which there is a small charge. Your maintenance grant will not cover you during this optional writing up period.

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