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Last Updated: Monday, 23 May, 2005, 10:28 GMT 11:28 UK
Charity targets London underclass
An International charity is to target asylum seekers, sex workers and the homeless in London with improved healthcare services.

Medecins du Monde, a Paris-based humanitarian agency, is set to establish three clinics in the East End over the next two years.

The scheme follows two years of assessments and will rely on volunteer nurses and doctors - many from the NHS.

The first clinic opens this summer focusing on helping vunerable migrants.

It will be followed by two more in 2006 and early 2007.

Karen McColl, director of the London arm of the charity, said: "Providing healthcare to marginalised people in developed countries, as well as developing counties, is an integral part of the humanitarian work of the MdM network.

"The overall aim of the project is to improve access to mainstream health services, including the NHS for vunerable groups of people."

Carolyn Regan, from the North East London Strategic Health Authority, which covers much of the East End, said they would be happy to talk to Medecin du Monde about their plans.

She said: "One of the central things we already do, very successfully, is to invest a lot of effort and time into providing health services for precisely these groups.

A spokeswoman for the NHS said they too already worked to reach vunerable people and had identified 88 spearhead Primary Care Trusts in some of the most deprivied areas of the country. Tower Hamlets has been listed as a spearhead Primary Care Trust.

The Healthcare Commission, which registers and inspects new helthcare services, has already approved the first phase of the scheme.

If it's successful, it could be expanded to other British towns and cities.

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