The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published guidelines on how health, social care and housing services can work together to better meet the health needs of people experiencing homelessness.
This is the first time NICE has published such guidelines. They include:
- A recommendation that services should be designed and delivered in a way that reduces barriers for people who are homeless to access and engage with health and social care services such as flexible opening and appointment times, and not penalising people for missing appointments.
- Ensure that accommodation is provided based upon people’s health and social care needs so that they are provided with a stable home that aids long-term recovery.
- Encourages health and social care services to be taken to people experiencing homelessness, by providing healthcare in settings such as on the street, hostels or day centres.
Responding to the guidance, Kiran Ramchandani, Director of Policy and External Affairs at Crisis, comments: “We strongly welcome the new NICE guidelines which, for the first time, lays out exactly how people experiencing homelessness will be better supported to access and engage with health care services.
“For decades people who homeless have experienced some of the most damaging, unfair and completely avoidable differences in their physical and mental health compared to the rest of society. Now with these guidelines in place, the NHS can rethink their services to ensure that people no longer fail to get the appropriate care they need – not only to improve their health but ultimately leave homelessness behind.
“It’s now over to the NHS, social care and local councils to implement these guidelines and we look forward to working with the health and social care sector as we all work towards ending homelessness for good.”