This letter was published in the Times and Independent on Tuesday 7th Jun 2011, said:
We are deeply concerned that homeless people will be left without a safety net under the Government’s radical reforms to the health service. Homeless people suffer from high rates of poor health, but ensuring that they receive the right care benefits them, and saves tax-payers money.
The NHS proposals fail to ensure that the needs of homeless people will be considered. People who don’t have a home are often transient and they can be invisible to the very GPs who are about to become responsible for commissioning health services.
At a time when thousands of homeless people already face cutbacks to the lifeline services that help them get a home, regain their health and rebuild their lives, these health reforms threaten to make this situation worse. The reforms offer opportunities to improve the health of the poorest by enabling housing and health services to work in a new way, but these must not be missed.
We are calling on the Government and NHS Future Forum to establish greater accountability for new health bodies including GP commissioners to address the needs of homeless and vulnerable people so they are not forgotten in the health reforms.
David Orr, Chief Executive, the National Housing Federation. Charles Fraser, Chief Executive, St Mungo’s. Jenny Edwards, Chief Executive, Homeless Link