About this research team

The aim of this interdisciplinary research team 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.

About the projects

Project 1: Homeless Hospital Admissions and Discharge: A Mixed Methods Study of Service Users and Providers

This PhD project is based in Hull York Medical School.

Homeless people underuse primary care services but are more likely to attend emergency services and to stay in hospital for longer. This means that a significant amount of homeless healthcare is managed by acute and emergency services.

The aim of this research is to examine the structure and practices of homeless hospital admissions and discharge. The research will involve collaborating with the local hospital discharge service at Hull University Trust Hospital (HUTH) to collate patient records and collect primary data.

Patient records will be used to compare admissions and discharges of patients recorded as ‘no fixed abode’ (NFA), which has been used as a national indicator for homeless patients. The research will also use qualitative and/or ethnographic approaches give institutional context to patients’ records and to explore how these are practiced.

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

Application deadline: 29th January 2020. 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.

Project 2: Motivations and Barriers of Homeless People Accessing and using Primary Care Services

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 ([email protected]) or Professor Joanne Reeve (Project Lead) ([email protected]) for additional details.

Application deadline: 29th January 2020. 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.

Project 3: Exploring the Homeless Perspectives and Experiences of Chronic Illness, Self-care and Healthcare

This PhD project is based in Hull York Medical School.

‘Homelessness’ is complex concept that refers to large heterogeneous group of people. The experience of being a homeless patient can vary greatly depending on the person’s particular background, context or health status.

The aim of this research is to provide rich and detailed accounts of particular intersections of the homeless patient experience. This could involve focusing on a particular group (such as immigrants, Travellers, ex-offenders or sex workers) and/or particular healthcare needs (such as chronic conditions or mental health problems).

The specific focus will depend on the outcomes of a literature review and potential for recruiting participants. The research will draw on current sociological and public health literature, explore the intersectionality of multiple and deep exclusion, and develop rich accounts that can inform healthcare services.

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

Application deadline: 29th January 2020. 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.

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