Thanks to everyone who has sent in potential questions for the panel for the 2018 conference. The questions for the debate will be voted on on the day. It looks like being an amazing debate!
1.Is it ever acceptable to discharge people from prison or hospital homeless?
2. We still cannot get real time information on homeless deaths. What can and should be done about this?
3. Many people without recourse on the streets have deteriorating health, and are likely to die on the streets, because they often do not demonstrate obvious care needs due to their survival tactics, and therefore do not meet the criteria for national assistance act. These people are then cared for by homeless health services and the voluntary sector who struggle to provide a humanitarian, dignified response due to a lack of resources. Who should take ultimate responsibility for this situation?
4. Is the voluntary sector picking up too much of the slack in this time of austerity, and what should be done about this?
5. Across Europe homelessness is increasing at an alarming rate, and sadly a shared common fact is that the average age of death in homeless women is lower than homeless men. For example, in Ireland the average age of death of homeless women is 39 years of age, yet there is little explanation or exploration of this finding. Why are we not shouting loudly about this, are women’s lives less valued? What should be done about it?
6. It is said that £9 out of every £10 of NHS money goes into funding hospitals, yet the burden of keeping people out of hospital and promoting a healthier nation sits on the shoulders of the community – how do we get more of our share of the money?
7. Homeless health teams are constantly asked to prove how they are reducing secondary care usage. It seems that the commissioning argument goes that services will only be commissioned if it saves the NHS money. This is not true in other specialities / areas. Is this discriminatory, and how can this dialogue be shifted?
8. Will the Homelessness Reduction Act make any difference, and how will e.g. hospitals and prisons be monitored regarding the duty to refer?
9. Should soup runs be stopped?
10. The ongoing failure of the system to provide an effective mechanism of data sharing across the homeless health sector means that alerts on patients of concern still have nowhere to be shared? Who is responsible for making sure this changes, and what should be done?
11. The numbers of specialist health visitors working with families who are homeless has been cut over recent years. What is being done to address this as generic health visitors do not have the time needed to work with families who are homeless who often present with complex and multiple health needs including safeguarding issues?
12. Should there be a confidential enquiry on homeless deaths, and if so, who should be responsible for delivering this?
This year’s amazing panel are:
Dr Eamonn O’Moore – National Lead, Health and Justice Team, Public Health England
David Eastwood – Service and Commissioning Manager – Rough Sleeping and Housing Mobility, Greater London Authority
Gwen Kennedy – Lead Nurse Safeguarding, NHS England, London Region
Helen Donovan, Lead Nurse Public Health, Royal College of Nursing
Jon Glackin, Founder, Streets Kitchen
So we have some great expertise, and a potential for a great debate. Stephen Robertson, CEO Big Issue Foundation will again be hosting with grace and humour!