£10m to tackle ‘revolving door’ of care for homeless people
Homeless people are more likely to be admitted to hospital or A&E, and are often discharged without their health and housing problems effectively addressed.
The Government is providing £10m funding to help address this, by supporting voluntary organisations to work with the NHS and local authorities to create services to provide better intermediate care for homeless patients.
An estimated 70% of homeless people are discharged without their housing or health situation addressed. They are six times more likely to attend A&E than people with a home, and four times more likely to be admitted to hospital.
The cost of treating homeless patients is also eight times higher than average due to the ongoing nature of their medical problems.
Public health minister Anna Soubry said: “Homeless people are too often discharged back onto the street without their problems being properly addressed. This is damaging to their health and increases NHS costs through ‘revolving door’ admissions.
“We are making £10m available to the voluntary organisations to help make sure homeless people get the support that they need when they leave hospital.”
Housing minister Mark Prisk added: “Backed by £470m Government investment in homelessness prevention, today’s funding will ensure vulnerable people are put in touch with the right help early on, getting their lives back on track, saving the need for repeat treatment.”
Rick Henderson, chief executive of Homeless Link, said: “This investment is fantastic news and will go a long way in addressing a real issue around the way the NHS deals with homeless people leaving hospital. Patching people up and sending them back out to the streets where their problems will recur only leads to readmission and continued problems.
“This issue has existed for too long. We hope this investment will be the catalyst for hospitals, councils and charities to work together to stop this cycle of homelessness, poor health and readmission once and for all.”
Charles Fraser, chief executive of St Mungo’s, said: “This is fantastic news. The ill-health of homeless people is extreme and disproportionate, and the Government’s very clear commitment to addressing that is enormously welcome.”
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Image c. by Trowbridge Estate