The BMA (British Medical Association) has found that homeless people needed urgent medical attention has grown substantially since 2011.
After analysing data the BMA discovered that in 2011 11,305 people classed as having no fixed abode went to A & E. Last year the number for close to 32,000, almost tripling the earlier figure.
Since 2010 homelessness has doubled, raising concerns that those the most in need are struggling to cope and are increasingly suffering from illness and injuries.
The investigation, published in The Doctor magazine, found increase in homeless patients was particularly acute in some big city hospitals. Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust London, has seen a 1,563% increase, since 2011.
An estimated 597 homeless people died in 2017 – a massive 24% increase over the last five years, according to the Office for National Statistics released in December.
Dr Peter English, BMA public health medicine committee chair, said: “If this was some disease causing all these problems it would be a much higher priority but because victims can be blamed and stigmatised it is easy for government to ignore.
“The growing numbers of rough sleepers and vulnerably housed people in our society is a continuing tragedy. To stand by silently as our NHS faces increasing strain and our society becomes increasingly unequal would be unacceptable.”
BMA mental health policy lead Dr Andrew Molodynski said: “The government must do more to end this tragic cycle.
“As well as addressing the current shortcomings in the provision of mental health care, there must be a wider approach that looks at prevention and the wider societal issues at play.”
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