Primary healthcare for individuals classed as homeless: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

Information (policies/ guidance/ publications) regarding access to primary healthcare for individuals classed as homeless or with no fixed abode between 2011-2021.


Attached is a copy of most of the information requested. 

Further information is also available on the Scottish Government website, NHS Inform, Scotland’s Health on the Web (SHOW) website and the Scottish Parliament website.

PCA(M)(2018)10 - provides guidance on what a GP practice should consider if a patient cannot provide identification or proof of address at Section 4.1.

PCA(M)(2013)04 confirms that regulations relating to GP registration apply equally to members of the travelling and settled populations. There are no inherent obstructions which relate solely to the Gypsy/Traveller community.

The NHS Pharmacy First Scotland service started in community pharmacies in July 2020 and is available for ‘people who are registered with a GP practice in Scotland or who live in Scotland’. While the documentation for the service does not explicitly refer to homeless people, it was designed in a way that captures people who traditionally may not be registered with a GP practice such as homeless people and those of no fixed abode.

The Directions and Service Specification are published at - PCA(P)(2020)13 - Additional pharmaceutical services: NHS Pharmacy First Scotland: directions and service specification

A patient leaflet is published at - NHS Pharmacy First Scotland: information for patients - (

While these documents do not explicitly refer to homeless people, information on the NHS Inform website about the service does state that it can be used by people who are experiencing homelessness, see - NHS Pharmacy First Scotland | NHS inform

S4W-01575 | Scottish Parliament Website in a response to Drew Smith MSP on 4 August 2011, Nicola Sturgeon MSP stated that there should be no barriers to Gypsy/Travellers accessing or receiving health services and the GP registration regulations apply equally to members of the travelling and settled populations.

In December 2018 territorial health boards confirmed to the Deputy Chief Dental Officer that dental services were accessible to the homeless population.

About FOI
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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