Thursday 19 February 2015

Sheffield’s Health and Wellbeing Board members have signed up to a scheme outlining their commitment to tackling the health conditions faced by homeless people in the city.

It has pledged its commitment by signing St Mungo’s Broadway Homeless Health Charter. This encourages health boards to measure and understand homeless people’s health needs, and use this information to help with future health planning.

The Health and Wellbeing Board is chaired by Cllr Julie Dore, Leader of Sheffield City Council, and Dr Tim Moorhead, Chair of Sheffield’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Cllr Julie Dore said: “It’s vital that we do all that we can to protect people who are homeless and I personally am 100% committed to working with our partners and other organisations in the City to help prevent and tackle homelessness in Sheffield

“We know that homeless people are much more likely to have physical and mental health problems and a significantly lower life expectancy.

“By including homeless people in our health planning we will be better able to identify their needs and ensure that they can get the healthcare and support they need.”

Dr Tim Moorhead said: “The CCG is committed to working with our partners to reduce health inequalities in the city and this includes understanding the needs of homeless people so we can offer them the right care and support.

“Homeless people are amongst the most vulnerable in our society and more needs to be done to improve their health and ensure they can access mainstream and specialist services.”

St Mungo’s Broadway, one of the UK’s leading homelessness charities, is encouraging local health and wellbeing boards in England to sign up to the Charter.

Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s Broadway, said: “Homelessness hurts. Homeless people have some of the highest levels of poor health within our society and we have launched this campaign to demand action to improve the health of some of the most vulnerable.

“We thank Sheffield for signing our Charter and committing to include homeless people in their local health plans. This means we can really start tackling inequalities and improving people’s health. We urge other Health and Wellbeing Boards to follow their example.”

St Mungo’s Broadway’s report, Homeless Health Matters: the case for change, reveals that:

– 73% of homeless people have a physical health problem
– 80% of homeless people have a mental health problem
– The average age of people who die while homeless is 47, for women it is 43
– 42% of homeless people have attempted suicide and they are nine times more likely to commit suicide than the general population
– Many homeless people struggle to register with a GP, often due to not being able to provide a permanent address