Health of homeless showcased in new report

  • A report has found that more needs to be done to support the health needs of homeless people across Nottinghamshire.

    The report, commissioned by the Nottinghamshire County Public Health Directorate, is based on 349 responses from individuals through focus group meetings and a series of one-to-one interviews. It found that each of the respondents reported having three or more separate heath needs, which includes 74% having mental health problem with only 31% having a diagnosis. 18% reported having an alcohol problem, and recovering from one and 26% had attended A&E in the last six months, reports Inside Housing. Out On The Streets...

    The report also discovered that 38% of people spoken to were either taking drugs or recovering from a substance misuse issue, compared to 8.8% of the general population. 34% of respondents said they had no fruit or vegetables in their regular diet.

    Andrew Redfern, chief executive of Framework, one of the organisations involved in producing the report as part of a steering group, said the findings were both "shocking and surprising".

    "From speaking to members of the steering group I know they expected to find some specific health issues that are more prevalent among homeless people than in the wider community. What the report actually shows is that homelessness is very bad indeed for your mental and physical health, to say nothing of its dramatic effect on life expectancy. Some key decisions are currently being made about the future of services for homeless and vulnerable people across Nottinghamshire and beyond. I have previously stressed that if vital front-line services are closed it will put lives at stake. This research shows precisely why."

    Grant Everitt, a member of the steering group, said: "The lack of appropriate primary care interventions creates the risk of exacerbation and potential crisis. The health community is urged to work closely with homelessness charities and other key partners to prevent this from happening."

    Inside Housing reveals that the report recommends:

    •  Taking the needs of homeless people into account when commissioning both primary and specialist healthcare services
    •  Ensuring that GP practices are aware of the additional health issues faced by homeless people and of the support that is available to them  
    •  Making hospitals aware of the hostels and other specialist services available for homeless people at the point of discharge and the routes of entry to them
    •  Improving the accessibility of specialist mental health and substance misuse services for homeless people
    •  Enhancing links between homelessness services and other community-based provision, such as TB testing, smoking cessation and sexual health services.

    What do you think of this? Tweet us your comments @suppsolutions

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