Embargoed for release, 00.01 a.m. 13 May 2013

Health Minister Anna Soubry MP launches Pathway medical respite standards and announces £10 million funding

Pathway’s homeless health team at UCLH will today welcome health Minister Anna Soubry MP on a visit to University College Hospital in London.  The minister will meet Pathway’s UCLH team, some current and former homeless patients, as well as UCLH Chief Executive Sir Robert Naylor and Pathway Chairman, Professor Aidan Halligan.

The Minister’s visit coincides with publication of Pathway’s service specification for medical respite provision for homeless patients – defining a new model of intermediate care for chronically unwell homeless or destitute patients leaving hospital. To shape the new service model and make the case to the NHS Pathway has worked with partners across the homelessness sector, and with members of the Faculty of Homeless and Inclusion Health.  Evidence suggests that NHS provision of medical respite for defined groups of homeless patients would improve health and social outcomes for homeless patients, and should save money for the health service.

During her visit the Minister was expected to announce £10 million of Department of Health funding for voluntary and community sector providers to work with the NHS to develop post hospital discharge services for homeless patients.

Speaking ahead of the Minister’s visit Dr Nigel Hewett, Pathway medical director and specialist homelessness GP said:

“I look forward to showing Anna Soubry some of the work we do with homeless patients in hospital. The announcement of funding to support new models of intermediate healthcare for homeless patients is hugely welcome. I hope this funding will lead to the provision of the medical respite services described in the report we have published today.  We see too many patients who currently cycle in and out of hospital without ever getting the chance to fully recover their health, and improving a patient’s health is a vital part of breaking the cycle of homelessness.”

Formerly homeless Pathway Care Navigator Josie Mavromatis said:

“It’s very exciting to have the chance to tell a Government Minister about the work we do with homeless patients in hospital.  It’s great that the Government seems to understand the need for more of the right kinds of services for homeless people when they leave hospital. Looking back at my own experience of being on the streets, a place where you can be safe, cared for medically, and given time, space and support to think about your life might have helped me get away from the streets years earlier than I did.”

Notes to editors

Pathway is a new charity that develops models of integrated healthcare for single homeless people and rough sleepers. Working within the NHS it puts the patient at the centre of their own care pathways and works to transform health outcomes for one of the most vulnerable and deprived groups in our society.  There has been a Pathway team at UCLH for three years.  There are Pathway teams in two other London hospitals and in Brighton, and funding in place to introduce three further teams in the next six months. For more information about Pathway’s work visit:  www.pathway.org.uk or to make a donation click here and be taken to the Pathway secure donations page

Medical respite for homeless people: outline service specification was published by Pathway today, 13 May 2013. The document sets out for health service commissioners and service providers standards medical respite provision should meet how to manage patient flows, and staffing and service requirements.

Press inquiries for Pathway call Alex on: 07775 625093

For our first two years of operation we used the name London Pathway, however as we have spread, supporting Pathway teams and homeless health partners across the country, we have dropped the word ‘London’ from our name.