Intended for healthcare professionals


Healthcare for people experiencing homelessness

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 08 March 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l1022
  1. Alex Bax, chief executive1,
  2. John Middleton, president2
  1. 1Pathway, London, UK
  2. 2Faculty of Public Health, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to: A Bax alex.bax{at}

A public health crisis caused by political choices

The recent BMA report Streets of Shame highlights the growing crisis in healthcare provision for homeless people and indicates that the UK’s rise in homelessness is now a public health disaster.1 According to the report, the average age of death among homeless people is 47 for a man and 43 for a woman; 597 people died while they were homeless in 2017, the highest number on record. Attendance at emergency departments by people experiencing homelessness trebled from 2011 to 2018.1 The same period saw a steep rise in admissions: from 3378 to 9282.1

The charity Crisis estimates that 24 000 people are currently sleeping rough in the UK, substantially more than the official figure of 4751.2 The charity also estimated that 82 310 households were in temporary accommodation on 30 June 2018, an increase of 71% since the low of 48 010 in 2010. This included 130 000 children.2

Homeless people present to NHS …

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