EALING Hospital is reaching out to the homeless community with a multi-discipline team that addresses both their health and social care needs.

The average life expectancy for a homeless person is almost half that of someone with a permanent roof over their head, with many struggling to access healthcare.

Dr Amisha Babla became aware of the Pathway programme after initially volunteering with Crisis, the homeless charity, and seeing at first-hand how many people were struggling.

Dr Babla said: “The cost-of-living crisis has seen an increasing number of people made homeless and forced to sleep rough or live in cramped hostel accommodation. It is a very stressful situation and people’s health suffers.”

The hospital-based team, which comprises GPs, nurses, housing support officers and an occupational therapist, picks up many of its referrals from A&E and in-patient teams. 

Each month, it sees up to 50 people with common ailments, including TB, substance abuse and skin conditions.

However, the team also provides practical support and advice on issues like GP registration, benefits, housing and immigration.

Dr Babla added: “The majority of services in the UK function independently of one another, so we offer a one-stop service.”

NHS England recently agreed to fund the initiative for a further three years after its initial one-year pilot helped more than 500 people.