London’s first dedicated detox unit for homeless people will open in Lambeth on Monday.
Based at St Thomas’ Hospital, the Addiction Clinical Care Suite will help homeless people who are dealing with serious alcohol and substance dependence.
The suite has been developed after a pilot conducted by Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust showed that hospital-based detoxification can help address the complexity of the physical and mental health needs that homeless people face.
The service will also provide peer support, groups, and activities alongside other initiatives such as stopping smoking, healthy eating, and mental wellbeing.
Patients will be able to meet with psychiatrists and psychologists as part of their recovery.
Referrals will come from across London and local authorities will ensure that people supported by the service have somewhere suitable to go after their detox period has been completed.
Dr Ian Abbs, Chief Executive Officer of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are very proud to be part of this new service at St Thomas’ Hospital, which is a lifeline to people living in incredibly difficult circumstances.
“Our expert medical and nursing teams will work with mental health colleagues to provide specialist care in one suite.
“Getting this right will mean we can give this group of patients a chance to live healthier and happier lives.”
Eddie Hughes MP, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, said this is one of the projects supported by the government’s £750 million investment this year to end rough sleeping.
£52 million of this fund will go towards substance misuse support services.
Hughes said: “The detox unit at St Thomas’ Hospital will offer transformative care to rough sleepers in London suffering from addiction, to ensure some of London’s most vulnerable people get the help they need.”
According to Public Health England, the rate of alcohol admissions for mental and behavioural disorders in London has increased in the last ten years, going from 295 per 100,000 hospital admissions to 425 per 100,000 in 2018 to 2019.
Public Health England (PHE) London led the creation of the project with the Greater London Authority, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and London’s borough councils after funding was awarded by central government.
The project was then commissioned by the City of London Corporation before St Thomas’ Hospital was chosen to deliver the service.
The service is funded through a combination of grants from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and local authority treatment budgets.
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