NHS needs to up game but homelessness problem can not be solved alone

Published on Monday, 28 May 2012 09:18
Posted by Scott Buckler

Responding to a report from St Mungo's and Homeless Link, NHS Confederation deputy chief executive David Stout said linking up services is key to providing better services for homeless people

NHS Confederation deputy chief executive David StoutNHS Confederation deputy chief executive David Stout said:

"The NHS needs to up its game in providing more responsive care and support for homeless people. This issue is likely to become even more urgent as the economic outlook remains bleak and people struggle with financial pressures.

"But this is a problem the NHS cannot solve on its own.

"Homeless people have some of the most complex physical and mental health problems that many professionals will ever encounter. Those organisations providing the best care bring together a wide range of specialist expertise, including voluntary groups, local authority and housing services.

"There are some really good examples of NHS organisations providing homeless people with effective support, advice and follow up treatment. Providing homeless people with the care they need requires us to bring services close to where they are. We need to get better at maintaining relationships with people once they make contact, and ensure follow-on services are properly joined up to avoid people getting lost or forgotten once they have been discharged from hospital.

"About 70 per cent of homeless people have a mental health problem and the Government's mental health strategy prioritises tackling homelessness. But if we are to get this right, then we must seize the opportunity to make sure more consistently good care is provided for such a vulnerable group of people."

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