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NHS should do more for homeless

29th May 2012

A government report says health service hospitals should take more action in order to come to the aid of homeless people. 

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The report, commissioned by the government from the charities St Mungo's and Homeless Link, said if NHS hospitals adopted a different approach it could decrease the amount spent on treating them as emergency admissions.

The report referred to the savings of £100,000 made by a team at University College Hospital in London.

Hospitals can spend five times the amount on a homeless patient compared to a non-homeless one, due to the fact that homeless patients are more likely to suffer from a variety of illnesses and be admitted multiple times.

Dr Nigel Hewett, a GP, visits homeless patients at UCH along with other staff, some of whom have been homeless themselves.

Dr Hewett said: "Homeless patients often come into hospital expecting conflict, and worrying that they will be judged."

"We've found that as a team we can quickly establish a relationship with the patient and help them."

Davis Stout, the NHS Confederation's deputy chief executive 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."

 

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