Better signposting and support needed to prevent readmissions

London’s homeless need better support when they are discharged from A&E units, says Conservative assembly member Andrew Boff.

A recent special inquiry from HealthWatch England found homeless people are often not given the appropriate support and signposting on discharge to prevent readmission.

The research also identified a lack of co-ordination between hospitals and housing services, making homeless people less able to access appropriate follow-up care or housing after a stay in hospital.

Individuals living on the street use A&E services five times more than the general public, and are 40 times more likely not to be registered with a GP , research shows.

A panel of London’s NHS bosses confirmed hospital discharge was a significant issue for London’s homeless when they were quizzed by Andrew Boff at a recent meeting of the London Assembly’s Health Committee.

Andrew is calling for the Mayor to lobby for hospital trusts in London to be given stricter guidelines on how to support homeless patients on discharge from hospital.

Conservative London Assembly member and health spokesman Andrew Boff said:

“Whilst many of us can enter the New Year with hope and expectation for 2016, the reality for London’s homeless can be starkly different. Lengthy stays and readmissions to A&E can be a regular occurrence, particularly as the cold winter weather sets in. It was recently brought to my attention that many of London’s homeless are facing a shortfall in the support they receive on discharge from hospital, resulting in further ill health and costly readmissions. This New Year I am calling on the Mayor of London to lobby for stricter guidance on discharging homeless people and better communication between hospital trusts and housing services. Providing long-term health solutions for our city’s most needy individuals is a New Year’s resolution that is truly worth making.”

– Emergency readmissions to A&E cost the NHS approximately £2billion a year.