A NEW hub to support the health and social care needs of people living in homelessness will open in Belfast.
The Department of Health in Northern Ireland has published a new report on improving access to health and social care services for people who are homeless. The report was compiled by a group led by Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride.
The aim of the hub is to bring services out of the clinic setting and into the community and on to the streets, to wrap care around the people who need it most, where they need it. This will include physical and mental health care and addictions services for those sleeping rough or in hostel accommodation.
The initiative will be managed by the Belfast HSC Trust and is part of ongoing work to transform Northern Ireland’s Health and Social Care system. The pilot will provide invaluable evidence and learning to help inform future service development for people who are homeless across all of Northern Ireland.
The report found that homelessness rose significantly in Northern Ireland during the early 2000s and has remained at historically high since 2005. Over 18,600 people presented to NI Housing Executive (NIHE) as homeless in 2015/16, the majority (52%) were single people.
The most common reasons for people presenting as homeless were breakdown and family dispute, accommodation not reasonable, and the loss of rented accommodation.
People living in homelessness also experience some of the poorest levels of physical and mental health among the population.
Some of the key health issues facing people in homelessness in NI include;
- 43% said they had poor diet and nutrition problems
- 80% experienced depression
- 61% used tobacco regularly
- Just 4% have 4 or more pieces of fruit per day
- A quarter said they did no exercise
You can find out more about the report and healthcare hub here.
The Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) has supported the development of alcohol policy in Northern Ireland IPH facilitates cooperation on addressing alcohol-related harm across the island of Ireland through the North South Alcohol Policy Advisory Group.
IPH also recently undertook a stakeholder engagement process to inform the review of the New Strategic Direction for Alcohol and Drugs Phase 2 (2011-2016) in Northern Ireland.
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