Homeless people “dying alone in pain” on Britain’s streets, parks and doorways must be prevented via a new law, according to a former minister.
Liberal Democrat former minister Sir Ed Davey wants to guarantee end of life care and housing for homeless people with terminal illnesses by scrapping a test which seeks to determine if they are “intentionally homeless”.
He said if a doctor diagnoses a homeless person with “advanced ill health” and certifies they expect they will die within the next 12 months then they should have an “automatic legal right” to “appropriate” housing plus care and support.
Sir Ed said such a small change would have “profound effects on the lives and deaths of many homeless people” as council departments would have to act without question.
“To be seriously ill as well as homeless seems to be beyond frightening – wondering when you’ll die, when the pain will stop, wondering if anyone will care or even notice.
“Yet homeless people are dying on Britain’s streets, in our parks, in doorways or if they’re lucky in ill-equipped hostels.
“While it’s difficult to give precise figures on how many people are dying like this, the evidence we have from those working on the homeless frontline is that it’s happening time and again – homeless people dying alone in pain in Britain in 2018.”
Sir Ed acknowledged implementing such a law would not be easy but said action is needed to help end health inequality.
He was allowed to introduce his Homelessness (End of Life Care) Bill to the Commons, which has cross-party support, and it was scheduled for further debate on March 16.