LibLink: Ed Davey: Terminally ill homeless people are dying on our streets. They deserve dignity like the rest of us

Here’s Ed Davey talking about the latest developments with his Bill to make sure that homeless people who are terminally ill are provided with appropriate accommodation and support. If you thought that this must automatically happen, then you are sadly mistaken.

In an article for the Independent, Ed explains what his Bill would do:

My proposed new law says that, in future, if a doctor diagnoses a homeless person with advanced ill health and certifies that they expect that person to die within the next 12 months, this “intentionality” test falls, and the person would have an automatic legal right to appropriate housing, along with a care package.

Implementing this law won’t be easy. Homeless people sometimes face the most challenging health issues imaginable: a wide variety of mental health problems including drug and alcohol dependency, and severe respiratory conditions.

The homeless often lose trust in people: in the hospital doctors, who had no choice but to discharge them back on to the streets, and in the family members from whom they have become estranged. Their past use of the NHS can make it difficult to patch together a full medical history. They might have self-discharged from hospitals to feed an addiction, or because the institutional setting proved just too much for them.

But it is the complex nature of the health and social needs of many homeless people that demands we act.

You can read the whole article here.

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  • Richard Underhill 8th Jul '18 - 10:04am

    They deserve dignity like the rest of us.

  • Don’t think anyone is going to disagree with this at all but, if thinking about it following on the model of Special Rules for benefits, then will there be a similar review of the case after three years? Are they moved from housing kept for terminally ill homeless and if so where do they go? Or do they remain as it will be expected to be relatively small numbers and the wider point is to provide dignity to all those near the end for their life? I expect this to be the case but if it is true then I would only say that a person expected to pass away within 12 months is likely to have much longer if properly looked after and therefore it may not be as small a number as expected, although it is still likely to be relatively small numbers.

  • Peter Hirst 9th Jul '18 - 1:35pm

    Though I agree, it would be administratively easier to stop all rough sleeping whatever the cause. Producing a priority list will just create challenges of lines and which side a person is on. Certainly there should be no discharge from hospital of people to live on the streets. We need a safety net of constantly available accomodation for these people. It is an affront to our society and is in no-one’s interests. It could be made illegal though the culprit is the local authority or whoever is responsible for it happening.

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