Vulnerable people

In certain circumstances some patient groups can be more vulnerable. For these patients groups there are additional local and national services which can make a real difference. In the sections below we provide links to general information and to local and national services. We also describe how our practice can help you.

“In 2017, there were an estimated 2.4 million UK Armed Forces Veterans in Great Britain, making up an estimated 5% of household residents aged 16 and over.”
“Annual Population Survey: UK Armed Forces Veterans residing in Great Britain, 2017”. Gov UK website Retrieved 14 February 2023.


We know the healthcare needs of veterans can be different from other patients as they transition from the support and friendship of the military to life outside. We also know that veterans have higher levels of post-traumatic stress disorder, and that common conditions including anxiety and depression and problems relating to alcohol occur in veterans.

Service families

We know about the extra pressure on family life that comes with deployment and periods of separation, social isolation and regular changes of location.

Our support and please tell use if you are a veteran

We fully believe in the armed forces covenant and want to ensure that we deliver on it.

  • We have brought together local and national information for veterans and the armed forces please see under Supporting veterans and the armed forces. This includes a link to the armed forces covenant.
  • Please can you tell us that you are a veteran if you have not done so already, either by filling in the form under update your personal details or informing one of our receptionists and we will add a code to your notes (on the GP computer system) to show that you are a military veteran.
  • Please also see direct help in the section below which includes general support from the practice, but also some specific support under practice self-referral support which may be of help.

“Across the UK today 6.5 million people are carers (including young carers under the age of 17), supporting a loved one who is older, disabled or seriously ill.”
“Why we are here” Carers UK website. Retrieved 14 February 2023.

Who are carers?

A carer is a person of any age (including children) who provides unpaid support (excluding statutory allowances such as Carer’s Allowance) to a partner, relative, friend or neighbour who couldn’t cope without their help. This could be due to old age, frailty, disability, a serious health condition, mental ill health or substance misuse. Parents of children who are disabled or who have a serious health condition are also considered to be carers.

We know the valuable and essential contribution carers make to the health and care system but with this care giving we also know how this can impact on the health and wellbeing of carers. Carers can feel unsupported and isolated when it can be unclear about where to go for information or support. Young carers may experience educational difficulties with enforced absence and lateness due to their caring role.

Our support and please tell us if you are a carer

We know the significant contribution to the health and care system carers make but also value the care given to our individual patients who require care. We want to support carers both in their caring role and in maintaining their own health.

  • We have brought together local and national information for carers please see under Supporting carers.
  • Here at Burnham Health Centre, we are aiming to identify all our patients who are Carers. Please can you tell us that you are a carer if you have not done so already either by filling in the form below or informing one of our receptionists. Why this can help with the care we give is explained below, including information on support in the surgery.

Carers Identification Form
Please complete this form and return it to the Health Centre receptionist.  You will then be registered in our Health Centre records as a Carer. With your permission we can also refer you to your local Carers’ Support organisation. If you live in Buckinghamshire this will be Carers Bucks. If you live in Slough, it will be Slough Carers Support.

Carers Identification Form v2

Carer’s Access Agreement Form
You will need to give this form to the person you care for. By completing this form, the patient gives consent for their carer to access their medical records and information relating to their care e.g., test results. Please ask the person you care for if they wish to complete this form and return the completed form to the Health Centre receptionist.

Carer’s Access Agreement v2

Burnham Carers’ Support Group
All carers are welcome to attend the Burnham Carers’ Support Group which is run jointly by Carers Bucks and Burnham Health Promotion Trust. The group meets on the last Friday of the month between 12 and 2pm at Burnham Youth Centre, Minniecroft Road, Burnham, SL1 7DE (Next to the Health Centre).

More information about the Burnham Carers’ Support Group and other local services is available from Burnham Health Promotion Trust, a registered charity, which has its office here in Burnham Health Centre. Tel. 01628 661441 or email [email protected]

Carers Bucks support

From Carers Bucks
“Do you look after someone who, due to illness, frailty or disability, cannot manage without you? If so, you are a carer and support is available. “

“Carers Bucks works in partnership with GP practices in Buckinghamshire, helping them to identify and support unpaid carers within their patient population and, as such, Burnham Health Centre is working with Carers Bucks to support carers who are patients at the practice. It is, therefore, very important that you have told the practice you are in a caring role, so that they can add you to their carers register. Being on a surgery’s carers register enables GP practice staff to be aware of your caring situation and the challenges that can sometimes accompany that role. It doesn’t mean you are entitled to preferential appointments, but the surgery should attempt to be flexible where possible.

Many GP surgeries, including Burnham Health Centre, now have a dedicated Carers Champion at the practice – a member of staff who is the main point of contact for caring-related topics and who liaises regularly with Carers Bucks.

As a carer, you are entitled to a free flu jab, too, so please do ensure that your GP practice is aware of your caring role so that they can fully support you.”

For more information, contact Carers Bucks on 03007772722, email: [email protected] or visit

Slough Carers support

From Slough Carers Support
“Slough Carers Support are able to provide support if you care for someone who is ill, frail or disabled.  They provide:

  • A Free Discount Card
  • Help you to stay informed
  • Help to improve your health and wellbeing
  • Point you in the right direction to connect with others in a similar place to you”

Please contact Slough Carers Support for further information on: Tel: 01753 303428, Email: [email protected] or visit

“There are currently around 900,000 people with dementia in the UK. This is projected to reach 1.6 million people in the UK living with dementia in 2040.”
“How many people have dementia and what is the cost of dementia care?”  Alzheimer’s Society website. Retrieved 14 February 2023.

Care for patients with dementia

There are a number of elements of care for dementia which have been shown to be important which are listed below.

  • early diagnosis
  • care planning and
  • living well for longer
  • Care for patients with dementia
  • Combining the support from many providers including health and social care providers but also the voluntary sector.
  • Identifying and supporting carers

We explain care planning below and cover the other areas in the links to other pages on this website below.

Care planning for people living with dementia

All patients with dementia in the practice are systematically followed up including reviewing

  • Medicines management
  • Talking therapies to help mood and behaviour
  • Alternative therapies to support sleep and agitation.
  • Support for carers not just for the carer’s role but also the carer’s own health and wellbeing.

Our practice support

We have brought together local and national information for patients with dementia and carers. This includes information on Dementia, Supporting carers and Reducing the impact of dementia. There is also information on Mental Wellbeing, Social Wellbeing (including loneliness) and Physical Wellbeing which can further support both patients with dementia and also carers.

We also have separate pages on

Please also see direct help in the section below which includes general support from the practice, but also some specific support under practice self-referral support which may be of help.

“There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK.”
“How common is learning disability?” Mencap website. Retrieved 14 February 2023.

Health issues associated with learning disability

We know people with a learning disability face many health inequalities which impact on life expectancy. Coronary heart disease and respiratory disease are leading causes of death. We know people with learning disability are less likely to take up preventive care, healthcare reviews, national screening and vaccination. People with a learning disability and asthma can be twice as likely to be smokers. We know that people with learning disability are less likely to have help for obesity, including screening for thyroid disease and diabetes.

Our practice support

We want to reduce these health inequalities for people with learning disabilities.

  • We have brought together local and national information for people with a learning disability and any carers under Learning Disabilities (Children) and Learning Disabilities (Adults). We also have support for carers Supporting carers.
  • We recommend any carer should review the section on carers on this page.
  • We need to accurately identify patients with a learning disability and add a code to your notes (on the GP computer system). This will help us offer a specific learning disability related annual health check (AHC). If you have a learning disability and you or your carer know you have not been offered an annual health check this may be because we have not properly flagged this on our computer system, so please tell us.
  • The Annual Health Check includes a health action plan to address health issues identified in this check and a medicines review.
  • Everyone with a learning disability is entitled to a free flu vaccination and we offer this.
  • Please also see direct help in the section below which includes general support from the practice, but also some specific support under practice self-referral support which may be of help.

Easy read information
Easy Read is a way of making written information easier to understand. There is a separate page on Easy Read Information, which is a good source of some helpful easy read leaflets on common health conditions and services.

Finally, to support people with learning disability we follow the NHS Accessible Information Standard please see our Accessibility statement and we have made adjustments to ensure we fully support disability access. Please see our statement on disability access.

“In December 2019 Shelter estimated that 280,000 people were homeless in England.”
“How many people are homeless?” Homeless Link website. Retrieved 14 February 2023.

Health issues associated with homelessness

Homeless people face several health inequalities.  We know there is a high prevalence of mental health problems and a greater incidence of long-term physical health conditions.

Our practice support

We want to reduce these health inequalities for people who are homeless.

  • We have brought together local and national information for people who are homeless under the section Homelessness .This includes emergency support from the local council if you have been made homeless. In addition, there is excellent local support for any problems with Alcohol and Drugs, giving up Smoking and mental health support under Anxiety and Depression (Adults) and Anxiety and Depression (Children) .
  • We know we need to make it easier for a homeless person to register with our practice. Homeless patients are entitled to register with a GP using a temporary address. This may be a friend’s address or a day centre. They can also use the practice address to register. There is more information from NHS England on registering with GP practice under the document: how-to-register-with-a-gp-homeless.pdf.
  • Please can you give us an alternative contact method if you do not have a mobile in case, we need to contact you for example with test results.
  • Please also see direct help in the section below which includes general support from the practice, but also some specific support under practice self-referral support which may be of help.

People who are from the gypsy, roma and traveller communities face several health inequalities.

As Gypsy-Traveller suggest
“The health status of Gypsies and Travellers is much poorer than that of the general population, even when controlling for confounding factors such as variable socio-economic status and/or ethnicity. Poor access to, and uptake of, health services is a major factor in Gypsy and Traveller health.”
Zoe Matthews (November 2008) “The health of Gypsies and Travellers in the UK” Gypsy-traveller website. Retrieved 1 February 2022.

Our practice support

We want to reduce these health inequalities for people who are from the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

Asylum seekers, refugees and migrants face many of the same health problems as the UK population.

However, understandably many do not understand how to access treatment on the NHS and may suffer health impacts (mental and physical) after leaving their country.

Our practice support

We want to ensure that people who are asylum seekers, refugees and migrants are able to access NHS treatment.

There are some people who are at greater risk of abuse or neglect. We explain in the links below who is at greater risk and how you can report a concern about a child or adult.

Support for safeguarding of adults (stopping both the risks and experience of abuse or neglect) can be found under Safeguarding Adults.

Support for safeguarding of children (stopping both the risks and experience of abuse or neglect) can be found under Safeguarding Children.

If there is immediate risk of harm to a child or adult, call the Police on 999.

The impact of crime can be profound. There is very good local support for the victims of crime including domestic abuse. There is also support which can help people move away from crime and support for their families.

This can all be found under Crime (including domestic abuse)

Our practice understands the impact of crime and we support the continuing improvement in local services to reduce this impact.

Quality care check lists and local support

The learning disability checklist can help you better understand some of the opportunities and local services available to help you. Some of these options you can access directly without needing to go through your GP practice and it can also support some of the options you have in the practice. The checklist is not submitted to the practice.

The checklist can be found under:

Some other checklists
For a further explanation of checklists and some other checklists which may be helpful to patients who potentially can be more vulnerable see under Update Your Clinical Record. This includes a checklist for depression and anxiety.

Direct help

Self-referral involves accessing NHS health services and other support yourself without needing an appointment with your GP. This is explained further by patient info Self-referral | Patient.

Bucks Health Hub
Most of the local self-referral routes are covered under Bucks Health Hub.

Common self-referral pathways
Some of the more commonly used local self-referral pathways can be found under local self-referrals in Contact Details And Self-Referral.

Some local community self-referrals
There may be services in the local community close to the practice, which if available can be found under Local Community.

Support for common conditions
Many common conditions have a support group which can be found if you look under the various conditions on Bucks Health Hub.

Support for your medication and many common conditions
Your local pharmacist can offer great support, see under Pharmacy.

The NHS can be a complex maze particularly when it comes to local services. You can use the information on this website to help you find local services. You can also use the support of

  • Most vulnerable groups have a local service (referred to in the information above on each group) which supports them locally and that is probably the best place to start.
  • A social prescriber who will have knowledge of local services including for loneliness, unemployment, debt, and insecure housing. If available, you can find in the self-referral section under Contact Details And Self-Referral information on “in practice self-referrals” to a social prescriber.
  • PALs for signposting with hospital services and Health watch signposting with community services Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) and other support

Videos and podcasts

Many people prefer to see a video or listen to a podcast as it offers a different way to understand health information. On the videos and podcasts page there are links to some relevant videos and podcasts covering various topics relating to vulnerable people.

Friends and family test

We welcome feedback on your experience, including good experiences and where we can improve. This can be done easily through the Friends and Family Test which we link to here with further explanation: Friends and Family Test.

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