Homeless Link and St Mungo’s have published a report, commissioned by the Department of Health, on how homeless people are treated by hospitals.
The report was produced to inform the National Inclusion Health Board and delivers the Ministerial Working Group on Homelessness commitment to identify what more must be done to prevent people at risk of rough sleeping being discharged from hospital without accommodation.
The report indicates that more than 70% of homeless people are being discharged from hospital back onto the streets, damaging their health. But it also cites examples of best practice. It found that NHS staff can improve health outcomes for homeless people and save the NHS money by ensuring all patients have somewhere appropriate to stay when they are discharged from hospital.
Minister of State for Care Services Paul Burstow acknowledged these findings during a visit to the Pathway homeless team at University College Hospital (UCH) in London today. The dedicated homelessness team at UCH were named as an example of best practice in the report. Paul Burstow said:
‘We commissioned this report to expose poor practice and share best practice. What it reveals is too many hospitals simply discharging homeless people back to the streets. Patching a person up and sending them out without a plan makes no sense.
‘The good news is the report shows that there are hospitals doing brilliant work to join up care and support and reduce the cycle of revolving door admissions. I am challenging the rest of the NHS to learn from the best and make it the norm.’
Find out more about the report on the Homeless Link website.