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Pathway Homeless Team wins an award for its Royal London Hospital work

PUBLISHED: 10:00 08 July 2019

The Pathway Homeless Team (pictured) has won a parliamentary award for their work to keep hospitalised homeless people off the streets after they are discharged. Picture: ELFT.

The Pathway Homeless Team (pictured) has won a parliamentary award for their work to keep hospitalised homeless people off the streets after they are discharged. Picture: ELFT.

ELFT

A team that makes sure homeless people who end up in A&E aren't discharged back to the streets has won a parliamentary award.

The Pathway Homeless Team, based at the Royal London Hospital, got the regional award for its work in urgent and emergency care.

It's one of the ten NHS Parliamentary Awards, which in total got more than 750 nominations from more than 250 MPs.

The team has also been shortlisted for a national award by the judges, who are senior NHS experts.

"I am delighted to have acknowledged the importance of empowering and supporting the most vulnerable in our society," said Dr Peter Buchman, who leads and set-up the team.

"Homelessness is not simply lack of a roof but a health problem and needs to be recognised as such if we are to improve the well-being and quality of life of these people."

The small team of six works with GPs, hospitals and the council to help get the homeless off the streets.

It's made up of a GP, a specialist nurse, an occupational therapist, a social worker and an administrator.

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A senior care navigator is another key part of the group and has lived experience of homelessness.

They help the homeless hospital discharges find housing, healthcare and ongoing support in the community.

Started in 2010, the pathway team began as part of a randomised trial.

The results showed a clear drop in the number of people going from hospital discharge to homelessness. Patients also saw a jump in their quality of life.

Work and meetings between organisations helped address more of the problems the homeless face, not just their illnesses.

These meetings are still happening nine years later. Now the service has launched a six-bed house to help patients who need extra support going from hospital to a home.

This house, which is short-term, aims to impart knowledge about things like housing, benefits and life skills.

The team was nominated by the Poplar and Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick. It is a joint effort by the East London Foundation Trust, Barts Health and the borough's clinical commissioning group.

That collaboration is important, with homeless people often suffering a complex mix of physical mental and addiction problems.

The national winners for the NHS Parliamentary Awards will be announced July 10.

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