In 2015, Nirali Sisodia, a pharmacist and Bijal Sisodia, a dentist, both of whom have had a long association with The Bridge Homelessness to Hope wanted to provide focused healthcare support to our guests (service users) for common health problems and decided to host The Bridge's first Health Awareness Day.
The Health Awareness Days focused on dental ailments, hepatitis, optics, podiatry, and nutrition and were held roughly every three months.
It was received very well by our guests and from that, the idea of piloting a monthly clinic where guests could come in to discuss their mental and physical health came to fruition in January 2020, when we held our first clinic.
The Health Clinic is held once a month at The Bridge and is where Clinical Pharmacists, GPs and other mental health professionals along with an army of volunteers come together to provide both physical and mental health support, and advice to our guests.
The guests who attend for their health concerns are received in a relaxed atmosphere and are matched with a volunteer who supports them throughout their appointments.
What happens on the day
Our guests are first seen by our wonderful clinical pharmacists who go through their medication history, record observations, do a brief triage, and are instrumental in establishing a rapport and putting our guests at ease.
They then go out to see the medical professionals of their choice.
We have no time limits on our consultations, and our guests can choose to have their volunteer buddies with them if they wish. We also provide advice, signpost to appropriate services and liaise with any other agencies that referrals are made to.
Nirali Sisodia oversees the clinics and ensures they run smoothly, she also heads the team of clinical pharmacists.
Dr Girish Kunigiri is the lead mental health consultant.
Dr Kishori Kulkarni is a GP in Leicestershire who volunteers for the medical clinics.