NHS long term plan includes commitments to improving health of people sleeping rough

Monday, 7 January 2019 - 4:55pm

The NHS long term plan was published today (Monday 7 January 2019). The plan sets out its strategy for the next decade, as well as detailing how it will spend the Government’s pledged additional investment for the next five years.

Along with our members, Homeless Link has been clear that it wants health inequalities and poor health outcomes faced by people experiencing homelessness addressed as part of the plan. We are therefore pleased to see a commitment to spend up to £30 million on health services for people who sleep rough, and there is also a wider focus on addressing health inequalities.

The plan says that the funding will be used to ensure people who sleep on our streets have better access to specialist homelessness NHS mental health support, and that this support is integrated with existing outreach services.

Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, said:

“People who are homeless die 30 years younger than the average person and have significantly poorer health outcomes then the rest of the population. For far too long the shocking health inequalities faced by people who are homeless have been unrecognised and ignored.

“This is why we are pleased to see that the NHS long term plan includes a specific commitment to improving access to healthcare for people who are sleeping rough. This focus and funding is what we need to see if we’re going to improve the health outcomes of people who sleep on our streets, and help them to access services and start to rebuild their lives.

“We are also pleased to see a wider focus in the plan on addressing health inequalities. Along with our members and our partners in the Health and Wellbeing Alliance, we have long been calling for the NHS and the Government to improve the health and wellbeing outcomes of those at highest risk of, and experiencing, the poorest health.

“We now look forward to seeing how the plan will be delivered. The proof will be in the experience and health outcomes of people experiencing homelessness. We will continue to work with NHS England, our members and partners to make sure they improve, that access to services is easier, and that services are shaped to help support people with often complex lives.”