William Eichler 09 June 2021

London’s first detox unit for homeless people announced

London’s first detox unit for homeless people announced image

London’s first dedicated detox unit for people who are homeless is set to open on 14 June to help provide those suffering from addiction with an avenue off the streets.

The Addiction Clinical Care Suite, based at St Thomas’ Hospital in Lambeth, will support homeless people dealing with serious alcohol and substance dependence.

Public Health England (PHE) London led the creation of the project with the Greater London Authority, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and London’s borough councils after funding was awarded by central government. The project was then commissioned by the City of London Corporation before St Thomas’ Hospital was chosen to deliver the service.

‘We are delighted to have been able to lead on the creation of this fantastic new unit that will provide life-changing and life-saving treatments to some of London’s most vulnerable homeless people,’ said Alison Keating, head of Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco at PHE London.

‘Joint working with some of the city’s leading organisations has helped us to provide this avenue off the streets and out of addiction. We will continue to work across organisational boundaries to build on this innovation and make a real and sustained difference to London’s most vulnerable populations.’

The Addiction Clinical Care Suite will provide peer support, groups, and activities alongside a range of other initiatives focused on helping people who sleep rough to stop smoking and eat healthily. It will also provide essential screening, vaccinations and mental wellbeing support.

The service is funded through a combination of grants from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and local authority treatment budgets.

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, commented: ‘I am delighted to be supporting this landmark new service, providing vital support to some of the most vulnerable Londoners.

‘The window for helping those with addictions can often be incredibly small and ensuring immediate access to appropriate detoxification and treatment can be life changing. The health issues experienced by people who are homeless are often complex and entrenched, there are no quick fixes.

‘Therefore, it is vital we continue to invest in addiction support and substance misuse therapies to address these life-threatening health inequalities.’

Dr Ian Abbs, chief executive officer of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘We are very proud to be part of this new service at St Thomas’ Hospital, which is a lifeline to people living in incredibly difficult circumstances.

‘Our expert medical and nursing teams will work with mental health colleagues to provide specialist care in one suite. Getting this right will mean we can give this group of patients a chance to live healthier and happier lives.’

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