The way the NHS discharges homeless patients needs to be improved, according to a new report published today. The report, compiled by the group Homeless Link and the charity St Mungo’s, has featured prominently in today’s news.
The report, which was commissioned by the government, calls on NHS hospitals to do more to help homeless patients. It says that homeless patients are thought to cost at least five times as much as other patients because they often have multiple health problems and repeat admissions. To explore the issue, researchers examined the experiences of both homeless people and staff involved in the hospital admission and discharge process in England. While the report highlights cases where new approaches have improved the care of homeless people and saved money, it also contains examples where services are falling short. For example, many homeless people describe being discharged from hospital with nowhere to go.