Homelessness a factor in hundreds of emergency hospital admissions across Ashfield and Mansfield
Homelessness was a factor in hundreds of emergency hospital admissions at Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust over five years, new figures show.
Charities have urged the Government to do more to improve health services for vulnerable people nationally and focus on providing stable homes for those sleeping rough.
NHS Digital data obtained by RADAR reveals roughly 230 emergency visits to Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust – which runs Mansfield Community and Sutton’s King’s Mill hospitals – had a diagnosis of homelessness in the five years to March.
There were also roughly 270 emergency visits to Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs centres including Millbrook Mental Health Unit at King’s Mill, with a diagnosis of homelessness in the period.
The figures cover patients where the primary or secondary cause of admission was homelessness.
Across England, emergency admissions linked to homelessness rose from 11,300 in 2016-17 to 16,700 in 2019-20.
However, this number fell to 12,000 in 2020-21 amid efforts to get people off the streets and into emergency accommodation during the coronavirus pandemic.
Matt Downie, of homelessness charity Crisis, said the drop in admissions last year ‘is one of the success stories of the pandemic’.
He said: “We need continued action to tackle the housing crisis if we want to ensure these figures do not revert back to the escalating numbers we were seeing prior to the pandemic."
Abuse of alcohol and drugs, as well as mental health problems, are among the most common reasons for hospital admissions among homeless people, the figures show.
Homeless Link said many vulnerable people have had such negative experiences when accessing healthcare that they put off seeking help until they reach crisis point.
A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokeswoman said: “Rough sleepers are some of the most vulnerable people in our society and the Government is committed to ending rough sleeping once and for all.
“We recently announced £66 million to provide somewhere safe and warm for rough sleepers to stay this winter and help those in trapped in drug and alcohol addiction, on top of the £30m we are investing in specialist mental health services for people sleeping rough.”