Minister praises inspiring medics providing healthcare for homeless in Leicester

Posted on 4th July 2011

Doctors and nurses who set up a not-for-profit company to provide healthcare for the homeless have been described as “inspirational.” The praise came from Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude during a visit to the Dawn Centre, in Conduit Street, Leicester, yesterday. He heard first-hand how NHS staff working at the homeless centre’s GP surgery decided to form social enterprise Inclusion Healthcare to manage the service, which has won a five-year contract to provide healthcare for 900 patients. It followed a change in Department of Health rules, which meant services might otherwise have been put out to tender and possibly run by a private company. Mr Maude said: “I was very impressed to meet the dedicated team with its complete focus on vocation. “Forming this social enterprise is not a soft option but this team is responding more practically to the needs of its service users and will be very good for patients.” Inclusion Healthcare medical director Anna Hiley said: “We are very excited at the opportunities. “We are looking forward to improving services and developing more.” Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith was also in Leicester yesterday, visiting apprentices and bosses at the British Gas Academy, in Aylestone. The minister said he planned to make life easier for businesses in the future. He said: “The past 10 years have seen businesses frustrated about the support they get and I think in Britain we’re still rather peculiar about having a pro-business agenda. “We need serious engineering companies to drive further investment.” He said moves such as scrapping the previous Government’s plans for national insurance increases had saved “a huge number of jobs” and promised the Government would deliver a “pro-growth” Budget this month. Apprentices at the academy have two years of training – partly funded by the Government – with a job at the end of it. Michael Peck, 18, of Eyres Monsell, Leicester, who is one of 120 apprentices at the academy, said: “I’ve been here nine months so far and I think it’s amazing. “I’m glad I got the chance of an apprenticeship with a lifetime guarantee. “My main area is electrical systems and I spoke to Iain Duncan Smith about the appliances I work on.” Daniel Sargeant, 23, from Birstall, who is 18 months into his two-year apprenticeship, said: “I’ve done grounds maintenance in the past and after that I was a security guard but I was made redundant. “Going for this was the best decision I ever made.” Following his visit to British Gas, Mr Duncan Smith spoke to members of staff at Clockwise Credit Union in Leicester. Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne was also in Leicestershire yesterday. He visited Intelligent Energy, in Holywell Park, Loughborough, which researches clean energy based on fuel cell technology. By Cathy Buss Source: Leicester Mercury

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