Poor health services put homeless at risk
Homeless people are not receiving crucial and sometimes lifesaving healthcare because services do not cater for their needs, a charity has claimed.
St Mungo’s said there is a need for a radical shake-up of healthcare policy to avoid a crisis amongst homeless people.
Research conducted by the charity shows 32 per cent of the people it works with have an alcohol dependency and 63 per cent have a drug problem. Almost half have a mental illness, and 43 per cent a physical illness. Overall 83 per cent of the people the charity works with have at least one condition yet a third are receiving no medical care at all.
Director of programmes Peter Cockersell, said: ‘There seems to be no recognition that homeless people have unique health problems, making it hard for them to get the treatment they need. Each condition requires a trip to a different department.’
Caroline Day, policy officer at charity Centrepoint, which works with young homeless people, said mental health issues are often ignored.
‘There’s a gap between 16 and 18 year olds where they no longer fit into children’s mental health services, but until the age of 18 are not eligible for adult mental health services,’ she said.
‘It’s an age where they go through changes and being homeless on top of that is a huge emotional pressure so it’s often at this age when mental health issues start.’