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Rise in homeless patient discharges


12 September, 2008  

The number of patients with no home to go to after they are discharged from hospital has risen by 53% in the past five years, according to research by the Conservative Party.

The figures, which relate solely to patients in England, show that, in 2007, 6,204 people were recorded as having no fixed abode on discharge from hospital care, up from 4,048 in 2003. Admissions of patients with no fixed abode also increased, from 4,984 in 2003 to 7,106 last year – a 42% rise.

The findings, which were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, were based on responses to requests from 103 of the 171 NHS trusts in England.

The figures highlighted a “dramatic” increase in the numbers of people leaving hospital into homelessness, Shadow Housing Minister Grant Shapps said.

Mr Shapps has published a report – “Discharged to No Fixed Abode” – which demands that the NHS, local authorities and homeless organisations recognise the problem of “hospital homelessness” and introduce best-practice measures.

The report says: “People suffering with serious medical conditions are being discharged to homes they don’t have.

“It will then cost the NHS far more when these people return to hospital with exacerbated chronic conditions.”

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