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Minister welcomes new hospital aftercare for homeless people

Public Health Minister Jane Ellison MP has welcomed London’s first Homeless Hospital Discharge Network after visiting a St Mungo’s hostel which will help homeless people with hospital aftercare. 

The Minister visited St Mungo’s Pagnell Street hostel in Lewisham, to see first hand the service that will start later this spring.   She met some of the staff from St Mungo’s and Homeless Healthcare who will provide the aftercare and also Wayne, a client who now volunteers at the hostel but who was previously homeless himself and needed various hospital treatments.

Research by St Mungo’s and Homeless Link found that only a third of homeless people in hospital had help with their homelessness. Many  were discharged straight onto the streets without their housing or underlying health problems addressed. This often resulted in worsening health and readmission to hospital.

The London Homeless Hospital Discharge Network was given £3.6million funding from the Department of Health as part of a £10 million national boost for hospital aftercare for homeless people.   It will provide an initial 24 beds, then up to 40, across London, in existing St Mungo’s hostels in Camden, Westminster, Hackney and Lewisham. A team of nurses and psychologists will work alongside health and housing support workers to help the person move on as their treatment comes to a close.

This could be days or up to 12 weeks depending on the physical and mental health needs of the person. By addressing health problems in the community the Hospital Network aims to prevent readmission to hospital and A&E attendance.   Clients will typically be referred from hospitals and after a stay in the Hospital Discharge Network may move on to supported housing or independent accommodation.

Minister Jane Ellison said: Jane Ellison, Public Health Minister said:“It is always so exciting to meet the staff on the ground who will be delivering the work the Department funds and to see the policy being brought to life. his excellent new facility at St Mungo’s will give us a good understanding of how best to stop the revolving door for homeless people and make sure they don’t leave hospital without proper care plans in place.”

Charles Fraser, St Mungo’s Chief Executive, said:  “We need to ensure that homeless people can have access to the care they need. We want to improve health outcomes significantly for homeless people but we also anticipate better use of health services which will potentially reduce costs. We welcome the Minister and the Government’s commitment to this and hope it will lead to long-term support of this kind right across the country.”

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