IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Medical firm has Islington housing contract scrapped

Health assessments to be brought in-house

10 January, 2020 — By Calum Fraser

Cllr Diarmaid Ward: ‘We will now be able to assure residents that they will be seen by a medical professional’

THE council is set to end its contract with a controversial private medical company which handled most its housing application reviews.

Islington will bring health assessments back in-house from April as it “discontinues” its contract with Now Medical.

As the Tribune first reported, the firm was criticised by one of the borough’s top lawyers and some councillors after several residents were reviewed by Now Medical and denied housing.

One case found that Now Medical and the council had been wrong to deny a “Mr Roufi” housing after his health was deemed adequate despite being a refugee who had fled persecution and torture in Iran.

Councillors had expressed their concern last year when it was brought to their attention that in a majority of cases Now Medical did not see patients face to face.

The council has budgeted an extra £280,000 to pay for a team to deal with housing applications and prevent homelessness. This includes an occupational therapist who will conduct face-to-face assessments.

Cllr Diarmaid Ward said: “It is good news. In a new budget we will have an in-house occupational therapist to deal with homelessness.

“We will now be able to assure residents that they will be seen by a medical professional. I think it is generally
correct that no one was seen during the previous arrangement.”

He added: “We do not intend to renew the contract with Now Medical. Making a homeless application is not easy. It can be an anxious time and people will feel vulnerable. We owe it to our residents to give them the best care we can.”

Now Medical did not respond to the Tribune’s request for a comment.

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