West Sussex receives grant to help rough sleepers access health services
West Sussex has been awarded more than £340,000 to help rough sleepers get vital access to health service, following a successful application to Public Health England (PHE) led by Stonepillow.
The money is part of the £1.9 million which has been allocated by PHE to be used on projects that will improve access to health services for people with mental ill health and substance misuse problems who are currently, or at risk of returning to, sleeping rough. In West Sussex there will be a particular focus to support people away from local hospital’s A&E departments and instead accessing more appropriate and suitable healthcare services.
People who experience rough sleeping have much poorer health than the general population.
In 2018 there were an estimated 726 deaths of homeless people in England and Wales, an increase of 22% since 2017, driven largely by a significant increase in the number of deaths related to drug poisoning.
The initiative will be co-ordinated by Stonepillow, one of the county’s homelessness services, on behalf of a number of homelessness support organisations. The project will start next February and run for 12 months.
The funding will help to improve the links between hospitals and homeless services and reduce the number of hospital admissions of homeless people in West Sussex. The Hospital Admissions Referral Pathway (HARP) model will provide a nurse and outreach worker, who will be located across various homelessness services, to ensure that rough sleepers do not fall through the primary healthcare net.
Hilary Bartle, Chief Executive of Stonepillow added: “We are committed to addressing the health inequalities faced by rough sleepers. The successful outcome of the PHE rough sleeping bid that we submitted in partnership with other agencies across West Sussex, will enable us to strengthen our response to this critical area of work.
"The complexity of health care provision can present challenges for our clients which excludes them from receiving the help they require in a timely and appropriate manner. This results in them resorting to emergency services in order to address their basic health needs with often inadequate follow-up plans.
"This demonstrates excellent partnership working across statutory and voluntary sectors, providing an improved response to the health and homelessness needs of some of the most vulnerable members of the community.”
Article: 27th October 2019