Mobile Find and Treat service helps tackle tuberculosis and hepatitis in London’s homeless population

A mobile health clinic is being used to improve screening, testing and treatment of vulnerable, homeless and high risk people in London. The Find and Treat van, deployed from University College London Hospital, is part of NHS Digital’s Future Wireless Project Trials. The aim is to tackle infectious and chronic diseases by screening, diagnosing and treating conditions such as tuberculosis, COVID-19, hepatitis B and C, HIV, cardiovascular issues, STIs and influenza.

The service was recently fitted with a range of tools to enable real-time remote diagnosis and referrals on the mobile health unit. Technology includes a digital portable x-ray camera, AI software, a teleradiology network to allow remote reading of x-rays using flat pack satellites, 4G and 5G routers, roaming SIM cards and smart antenna systems.

NHS Digital director of infra-structure services Patrick Clark said: “We’ll be monitoring the impact of the Find and Treat scheme in London and considering how such initiatives might be successfully adopted elsewhere to reach those least able to access healthcare.

“As well as the Find and Treat service, our other Future Wireless Project Trials are looking at how emerging wireless technologies could be used by healthcare workers in digitally isolated hospitals and health centres to improve care.”

Find and Treat’s team of peer workers, who have lived experience of homelessness, help build trust with a patient group suffering from diseases linked to poverty and inequality.

Outreach worker Ousainou Sarr was diagnosed with tuberculosis by the service in 2011, after losing his job and living on the street. He now uses his experience to encourage people currently facing homelessness to access the service. “People sleeping rough are very vulnerable to TB,” he said. “I encourage them to be screened on the van and explain the benefits to them.

“The service can screen people with x-rays, provide diagnoses on the spot and, most importantly, follow up with people to make sure they get the treatment they need. I can’t thank Find and Treat enough for the service it provides to people who are homeless.”

Picture: NHS Digital director of infrastructure services Patrick Clark with the Find and Treat van.

Published on page 2 of the May 2022 issue of RAD Magazine.

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