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News archive - March 2013

Counting the health costs of homelessness

Counting the health costs of homelessness

THE NEW NHS commissioners have been called upon to invest in services for homeless people. At a conference last month, leaders of the Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health asked Ministers and NHS leaders to deliver on their promise to “improve the health of the poorest fastest”.

New data presented at the conference highlighted the health consequences of homelessness in terms of rates of infectious diseases, heart disease, asthma, mental health, and mortality. The evidence indicates that because the system allows homeless people to get so sick, they can end up costing the NHS up to eight times more than people with a home. At the same time, the failure to tackle people’s health problems was also highlighted as a contributory factor to homelessness in the first place.

The Faculty has called for all NHS organisations to adopt core standards for health services for homeless people, and for Commissioners to work with homeless sector organisations to design more integrated services. It also wants the Department of Health to ensure that the new health system recognises the costs of failing to properly fund homeless health services.

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