GovWire

Press release: Fund to help end cycle of homelessness and hospital readmissions

Department Of Health

October 7
08:41 2021

  • 16 million for pilot projects to support people experiencing homelessness after being discharged from hospital
  • Schemes to reduce pressure on NHS and help people who are homeless find accommodation
  • Part of the programme to end rough sleeping by 2024

The objective is to end the cycle of people leaving hospital to return to the streets and then being quickly readmitted to hospital.

Currently, patients who are homeless in hospital are more than twice as likely to be readmitted to hospital in an emergency compared with patients with housing. A study of nearly 3,000 homeless patients discharged after an emergency admission from 78 hospitals between 2013 and 2016 revealed almost 2,000 were readmitted within a year, at almost double the rate of those with homes to go to.

These pilots in 17 areas from London to Liverpool will offer improved services to help some of the most vulnerable members of society with basic needs such as housing, employment and drug cessation, that can help them get back on their feet in the long term.

People experiencing rough sleeping on average die 30 years earlier than the general population and the estimated number of those dying each year has risen by about 50% in less than a decade. When figures began being collected in 2013, 70% of people who were homeless were being discharged to the streets rather than into supported schemes or back with families.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, said:

No one should ever have to sleep rough extra support will ensure those who do not have a home can get the help they need, recover more quickly and end the cycle of readmission to hospital.

This government has proven its commitment to helping people experiencing homelessness throughout this pandemic, providing temporary accommodation and priority vaccines.

These pilot schemes will show how much more effective care can be when its integrated and the best examples will be taken forward to help tackle homelessness across the country.

Funding was allocated from the shared outcomes fund in 2019 and, despite the pandemic, the pilot projects are already changing lives, reducing readmissions and helping those in need.

For example, the Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Health and Care Partnership is working with Cornwall Council, Harbour Housing and Stay at Home to redesign out of hospital care services.

The partnership links accommodation with on-site appointment services, counselling and drug and alcohol support providing stability to those looking for housing and work.

Many of the pilot schemes are already making a real difference. In Oxford and Reading, for example, delayed discharges from mental health hospitals have fallen from 22 in May to zero in August, for the first time. By identifying a persons individual needs there is a far greater chance of finding the right support.

Combining these posts with resettlement homes helps increase the potential for recovery.

Minister for Care, Gillian Keegan, said:

By bridging the gaps between hospitals and homes these support networks are breaking the link between homelessness and multiple repeat hospitalisations.

We know there is more to do and we are committed to improving the lives of people sleeping rough with support that makes a real difference not only to the individual but their families, communities and the NHS.

This 16 million is just one of the many investments in homelessness from across the government.

The government has committed over 750 million to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping this year, further demonstrating the governments commitment to end rough sleeping this Parliament and fully implement the Homelessness Reduction Act.

In addition, the NHS Long Term Plan includes 30 million extra over 5 years to meet the health needs of those on the streets or with no fixed place to live.

The government has promised to continue looking at ways to support people sleeping rough and help meet their physical and mental health needs to reduce this long-standing issue and help manage demand for NHS services.

Background

The money is part of a 200 million shared outcomes fund approved by the Treasury late in 2019 with the 16 million already provided to the pilot schemes.

Hospital readmission figures: Hospital readmission among people experiencing homelessness in England: a cohort study of 2,772 matched homeless and housed inpatients (researchgate.net).

A report by the National Institute for Health Research sets out the benefits of improving care transfers and figures on the assessment of care needs in 2013.

Figures on estimated deaths and life expectancy are available from the Office for National Statistics: Deaths of homeless people in England and Wales.

Areas provided with funding:

  • Live Healthy Live Happy Birmingham and Solihull (led by Birmingham City Council)
  • Our Dorset (led by Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council)
  • Sussex Health and Care Partnership (led by Brighton and Hove Council)
  • Healthier Together Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (led by Bristol Council)
  • Cambridgeshire and Peterborough (led by Cambridgeshire County Council)
  • Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Health and Care Partnership (led by Cornwall County UA)
  • Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership (led by Greater Manchester Combined Authority)
  • Humber, Coast and Vale (led by Kingston Upon Hull City Council)
  • West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership (led by Leeds City Council)
  • Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership (led by Liverpool City Council)
  • Nottingham and Nottinghamshire (led by Nottingham City Council for Nottingham City and Mansfield District Council for Nottinghamshire)
  • Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West (led by Oxford City Council and Reading Borough Council)
  • North Central London Partners in health and care (led by Islington London Borough)
  • North West London (led by Kensington and Chelsea Royal Borough)
  • Our Healthier South East London (led by Lambeth London Borough)
  • South West London Health and Care Partnership (led by Kingston upon Thames Royal Borough)
  • North East London Health and Care Partnership (led by Newham London Borough)
  • Pan-London Model (led by the He

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