New figures released on 30 June 2017 by the Mayor of London show the rise of the number of rough sleepers on the streets of the capital has effectively halted for first time since 2009.
Healthy London Partnership, working on behalf of London clinical commissioning groups and NHS England (London) works to improve the health of people who are homeless across the capital through its Homeless Health Programme.
Dr Adrian McLachlan, a Lambeth GP and Clinical Lead for Healthy London Partnership’s Homeless Health Programme, said:
“We welcome the news that for the first time in several years we are seeing a slowing down in the increase of the numbers of people living on the streets in London.
“Health problems can sometimes be the cause of homelessness, so it’s important to the NHS in London that people who are homeless have the same access to healthcare as the general population.
“Over the past year we have done a lot of work with people who are homeless and the those that support them, to develop tools and training for the NHS to help homeless people improve their health.
“Being homeless can seriously affect a person’s physical and mental health, with the average age of death for people who sleep rough on the streets being just 47 years old.”
Kenny Gibson, Head of Public Health Commissioning for NHS England (London) said:
“The NHS will continue to work to make sure that people who are homeless in London receive the healthcare that they need. The work of the London Homeless Health programme is supporting this important aim.”
Notes to editors:
- A recent report from Healthy London Partnership and homeless charity Groundswell, which included the results of over 90 interviews with people who are homeless in London, found that people who are experiencing homelessness often find it difficult to access healthcare and that people did not always understand their needs. Read the report ‘More than a statistic’
- Healthy London Partnership launched ‘My right to access healthcare’ cards for people who are homeless to register and receive treatment at GP practices in London.
- 40,000 cards, developed in partnership with Healthwatch London and Groundswell, were delivered to shelters, day centres, drop in centres and other organisations across London.
- Healthy London Partnership also published commissioning guidance to support London’s clinical commissioning groups to provide health services for people who are homeless. The guidance outlines 10 commitments for improving health outcomes for people who are homeless in London, with ideas and practical tips for achieving each one.
- Over 1,000 GP receptionists and practice managers across London have completed our online training, which covers the specific issues faced by patients who are homeless, best practice in supporting and treating them and their rights to access services.
- More information about the work Healthy London Partnership is doing to improve London’s healthcare for people who are homeless is available is available at www.healthylondon.org/homeless