Homeless & Inclusion Health 2016
2nd and 3rd March 2016
By Prof David Whitford (Safetynet Delegate)
This significant annual conference held in London, brought together the latest in evidence and best practice from around Europe in health and public services.
The highlight of the conference, for me, was the talk by Prof Richard Wilkinson as he teased out some of his data from his book, the Spirit Level and talked through the implications of income inequality on everyone’s lives and particularly the disadvantaged. It seemed rather depressing to realise (again) that all our efforts as doctors do not overcome the impact of social and income inequality. He spoke about solutions – resting largely in the hands of politicians and society. Prof Michael Marmot further advanced the political argument, rounding solidly on politicians choosing to ignore the evidence that reductions in benefits actually cost governments more because of increased costs in policing, prisons, healthcare etc.
The other talks and workshops were more in our province. There was an interesting talk on palliative care (hospice provision) for the homeless – a great quote was that people who had had difficult lives deserved a good death. A talk from Prof Ursula Gallagher of the Clinical quality Commission, outlined how practices serving deprived areas were over-represented in the ‘outstanding’ practices in the UK – largely down to philosophy and ethos. There were a large group of ‘experts by experience’ that are increasingly used to support other homeless. An interesting talk by Prof Denis Culhane suggested there may be a ‘cohort’ of homeless caused by a generational effect (e.g. baby boomers) that means that the age of the homeless population changes over time.
The main sponsors of the conference were Pathway and the Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health with support from the Health Foundation, NHS England and partners.
You can access the conference presentations at - https://vimeopro.com/vcube/homeless-inclusion-health-international-symposium-2016