VCHPVision Care for Homeless People (VCHP) used a meeting for supporters and sponsors at the House of Lords last week to call on the NHS to ensure the healthcare needs of the homeless are better met.

The charity has carried out more than 9,000 eye examinations and dispensed thousands of pairs of spectacles since being founded in 2003. Attendees heard how three clinics in London, and others in Brighton, Manchester and Birmingham provide valuable services but that further expansion is constrained by funding.

Future plans involve providing services in hostels or day centres but the charity says NHS changes to domiciliary care regulations in 2008 have made it more difficult to meet the needs of homeless people.

Speaking in the Attlee Room, VCHP chair and co-founder Elaine Styles said: ‘We would like to use our fixed centres as a base for a mobile service. We would then be able to reach far more homeless people more effectively without opening further centres.  In order to do this, we would have to operate under the second NHS Additional Services (or Mobile) contract.’