The Bristol Health and Wellbeing Board has signed up to St Mungo’s Broadway’s Homeless Health Charter and pledged its commitment to measure and understand the health needs of homeless people in Bristol.
Dr Martin Jones, Chair of Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group and Mayor of Bristol George Ferguson and jointly chair the Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB) in Bristol. They formally signed the charter together at a HWB meeting last week, joined by clients and staff from St Mungo’s Broadway.
"Homeless people are more likely to suffer both mental and physical problems through the extreme stress involved with insecurity and discomfort. It is our responsibility to make sure they have the same access to support and healthcare as anyone else in society. That is why we have signed up to the Homeless Health Charter today. It is vitally important that we give priority to looking after the most vulnerable people in the city. "
- George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol
Dr Martin Jones signs the charter with George Ferguson. Back row (left to right): Dionne Chettleborough, Sian Wilcox and Samaya Rafiq (St Mungo's Broadway)
Homelessness charity St Mungo’s Broadway launched its Homeless Health Matters campaign in October. As part of this, the charity is asking its supporters to write to one of the 152 local HWBs in England, urging them to sign the Homeless Health Charter.
"Homeless people are some of the hardest people to reach when it comes to providing healthcare and advice, and yet many are in the greatest need. By signing St Mungo’s Broadway’s Homeless Health Charter today we are committing to identifying the specific needs of homeless people, developing services that take those needs into account and that are welcoming and easy to access. "
- Dr Martin Jones, Chair of Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group,
Facts and figues
St Mungo’s Broadway, together with another organisation Homeless Link, has found that two thirds (64%) of HWBs had no reference to homeless people within their local plans. Of those who did, only a quarter included detailed information.
Research has also shown that:
- 73% of homeless people have a physical health problem
- 80% of homeless people have a mental health problem
- The average age of people who die while homeless is 47, for women it is 43
- 42% of homeless people have attempted suicide and they are nine times more likely to commit suicide than the general population
- Many homeless people struggle to register with a GP, often due to not being able to provide a permanent address
More than 20 other HWBs have now signed up to the Charter including Birmingham, Brighton & Hove, Camden, Hampshire, Islington, Wigan and Wokingham.
Homeless Health Matters is the second focus of the charity’s three year overarching campaign A Future. Now. This aims to raise awareness of skills, health and housing gaps to help improve the lives of homeless people across the UK.
"Homelessness hurts. Homeless people have some of the highest levels of poor health in our society but yet find it most difficult to access the help they need. We launched this campaign to demand action to improve the health of some of the most vulnerable. We thank Bristol and the other boards who have signed our charter so far, and committed so quickly to include homeless people in their local health plans. This commitment is an important step towards tackling inequalities and improving people’s health and we look forward to hearing from boards who have signed up about how they are putting it into practice. We urge other Health and Wellbeing Boards to follow their example."
- Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s Broadway