Laura Sharman 03 March 2020

Number of homeless people admitted to hospital rises 130% in five years

Number of homeless people admitted to hospital rises 130% in five years image

Homelessness led to a sharp increase in the number of hospital admissions in the past year, new research has revealed.

New analysis from The King’s Fund shows 27,883 people were admitted to hospital in England with a primary or secondary diagnosis of homelessness, up from 24,500 the year before. There has been a 130% increase in hospital admissions related to homelessness in the last five years.

A separate report from the think tank also warned that people sleeping rough struggle to access health and care services until they are acutely unwell.

Homeless people also tend to due 30 years younger than the general population due to a ‘toxic combination’ of poor health, food and personal safety the report found. A third of these deaths are the result of treatable medical conditions like respiratory disease and HIV.

Julia Cream, fellow at The King’s Fund and lead author of the new report, said: ‘People who sleep rough are living on the margins of society and all too often their health needs go unmet. They can face a toxic combination of drug and alcohol dependence, poor mental health, childhood trauma, abuse, and domestic violence. No one agency has all the solutions – health, housing, care and criminal justice all have to work hand in hand.

‘Our research shows that the health and care of people who sleep rough can be improved when long-term funding is combined with local collaboration, listening to the needs of people who sleep rough and enabling staff to do the right thing.’

The report is calling on Dame Louise Casey to highlight the importance of addressing physical and mental health issues to keep people off the streets in her upcoming review.

Cllr David Renard, the Local Government Association’s housing spokesman, said: 'The funding announced last week to tackle rough sleeping will help councils’ efforts to get people off the streets and into safe accommodation, and reduce hospital admissions related to homelessness.

'If we are to properly address this then the Government should use the Budget next week to adapt welfare reforms to protect families at risk of becoming homeless, and restore local housing allowance rates to cover at least the lowest third of market rents.'

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