Sick Mansfield homeless people are being discharged back onto the streets says social work expert

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A social work expert says people living rough who desperately need health care and surgery are being discharged back onto the streets of Mansfield because they are not being assessed properly.

Helen Tyers who works at the Methodist Church soup kitchen in Mansfield says it is becoming common for people to be living with physical and mental health issues which could be dealt with properly if they were housed.

But to get onto the radar of social services they need to be assessed.

Helen is a social work consultant who has worked at the highest level including the European Court of Human Rights.

She said: “people are living with health issues they don’t need to be living with. If they were housed they could have it and they would be fine.

“One young man had a nasty smashed up leg. He had surgery to pin it and was discharged immediately after surgery.

“He is still living rough and his leg hasn’t mended properly.

“A homeless woman with a learning disability and mental health problems including epilepsy was discharged from hospital without being assessed.

“The ward at King’s Mill Hospital said she could walk and dress herself so they wouldn’t assess her.

“If they assessed her she would have to be on their system.”

Mansfield District Council in these circumstance would have to act if you had a vulnerable young woman with learning difficulties , if she had a social worker they could help her with paying bills paying rent and health care appointments . It would not be costly.

A spokesman for Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust said: “Sherwood Forest Hospitals takes our responsibility towards homeless people very seriously. We follow a comprehensive and robust policy for discharging vulnerable adults, actively working with the Local Authority (Nottinghamshire County Council) and our community partners including Nottinghamshire Healthcare to ensure the safety of these patients.

“All of our patients’ health and social care needs are assessed on admission to hospital. This includes considering their level of health or social care needs when they are approaching their appropriate predicted discharge date. We then work with our partner agencies to ensure suitable accommodation is secured and adequate support is given to homeless patients prior to their discharge. In line with national guidelines we also notify to relevant primary health care services and homeless services, ahead of any planned discharge.”

“Without any more detail it is impossible to comment on the individual cases highlighted.”

Mansfield MP Ben Bradley said: “I’ve been working to highlight many issues with our support services for homelessness both to local authorities and direct to Government since my election, including bringing the Home Secretary here to Mansfield to hear from those involved directly.

“The Homelessness Support Act which came in just a few weeks ago recognises some of the issues Helen has raised and changes the responsibilities of local Councils to ensure everyone gets support who needs it. Government are also currently trialling various different schemes in major cities to find the service that is most effective before rolling it out nationwide, as part of a commitment to halving homelessness by 2022.

“Locally Councils are responsible for delivery of these services and particularly for supported housing and social care. Personally I believe that it is impossible to deliver a joined up and effective service whilst these responsibilities are split across so many different organisations, and I hope that in future we can have a Unitary Authority for Nottinghamshire that can bring these services together instead of different Councils protecting their own budgets and priorities. It won’t get sorted if we’re not all pulling in the same direction.”