NHS England has promised to invest up to £30m extra in mental health support for rough sleepers, as part of the new long-term plan.
The NHS Long Term Plan, published yesterday, includes a chapter dedicated to providing “stronger action on health inequalities”, LGC’s sister title the Nursing Times reports.
NHS England said it will invest to ensure the parts of the country most affected by rough sleeping with have better access to specialist support.
According to the long-term plan, “50% of people sleeping rough have mental health needs, but many parts of the country with large numbers of rough sleepers do not have specialist mental health support and access to mainstream services is challenging”.
It noted that outside London, where often people are more likely to sleep rough for longer, support needs may be higher.
The plan added that 31% of people affected by homelessness have complex needs and additional financial, interpersonal and emotional needs that can make engagement with mainstream services difficult.
Therefore, NHS England will invest the £30m to provide better access to support, integrated with existing outreach services.
Homelessness charity St Mungo’s said it has welcomed the commitment.
Dominic Williamson, executive director of strategy and policy at St Mungo’s, said: “This commitment must be the start of a real effort to reduce the shocking health inequalities and premature deaths of people who are homeless.”