Shocking new figures suggest thousands of homeless people are arriving at hospital with Victorian-era illnesses such as tuberculosis, as well as serious respiratory conditions, liver disease and cancer, with hospital admissions for such conditions dramatically over a decade.
NHS data, which is believed to be a significant underestimate because trusts do not have an agreed definition of homelessness or require patients to record their housing status, shows admissions from people with “no fixed abode” increased from 1,539 in 2008-9 to 10,259 in 2017-18.
Hepatitis C admissions rose from 128 to 1,433 over the period, visits for diabetes went from 196 to 1,250 and alcoholic liver disease attendances rose fivefold from 135 to 521.
Deaths recorded at NHS hospitals more than quadrupled, rising from 18 to 95 in the last 10 years. Palliative care treatment from patients with no fixed abode rose from one in 2008-9 to 45 last year.
Cuts to vital welfare services, austerity and an ageing homeless population have been blamed for the huge increase in largely preventable illnesses.