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23.06.16

PHE preparing report on joined-up approach to healthcare for homeless

A more joined-up approach is needed to tackle the health problems affecting the homeless population, public health minister Jane Ellison has told the Communities and Local Government committee.

In a hearing last week for the committee’s homelessness inquiry, Jane Ellison said that although progress had been made, more needed to be done, and Public Health England (PHE) is preparing a report on how the health system is supporting the health of homeless people.

 “It is not that we are saying, ‘We have done that. We have changed the contract,’ and we will rest on our laurels and move on,” she said. “We are actually actively monitoring how that is working and what more can be done to take that forward and make sure it is a system-wide response.”

Ellison added that efforts to tackle homelessness were “really beginning to see benefits” of a more joined-up approach to care as a consequence of the move to public health involvement in local authorities since 2013.

She also said that NHS England was now seeking to embed homelessness issues within commissioning and primary care.

According to a 2010 report, the cost of homelessness for the health system is estimated to be around £85m, owing to issues like the higher rate of A&E attendance among homeless people.

Ellison said that the DH has already invested £10m in a homeless hospital discharge fund. In addition, it has invested £40m in the Homelessness Change programme, to help people in hostels look after their health and access mental health treatments and the Platform for Life programme, to help young people in danger of homelessness.

The PHE report is due to be published following the CLG’s inquiry into homelessness.

(Image c. Trowbridge Estate)

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