St Mungo’s welcomes first dedicated substance misuse detox unit for people experiencing homelessness

A new medical facility dedicated to helping people experiencing homelessness tackle severe alcohol and substance dependence has been welcomed by leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s.

The new Addiction Clinical Care Suite, which is based at St Thomas’ Hospital in Lambeth, will be accepting patients from next Monday (14 June).

It was set up through PHE London-led partnership with Greater London Authority, London boroughs, the City of London Corporation and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and support people to tackle severe alcohol and substance dependence.

It is hoped the new unit will plug a known gap in treatment facilities for people experiencing homelessness dealing with serious alcohol and substance dependence.

Chief Executive of St Mungo’s Steve Douglas CBE said: “We welcome this new detox unit. Sadly we know that drugs or alcohol contribute to a large number of deaths of people who are experiencing homelessness.

“Which is why specialist care facilities like this are so important, as they recognise that substance misuse is a health issue, and should be treated as such.

“And this service will go much further and will offer people other treatments, support and access to medical care that can be so difficult to access for people experiencing homelessness.

“From our own experience and our research we know that homelessness and health are inextricably linked. This is also being analysed by the Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping which will publish its interim findings next month.”

As well as supporting people who sleep rough to safely withdraw from alcohol and drugs as part of the first steps in a treatment journey, the service will also provide peer support, groups, and activities alongside a range of other initiatives focusing on stopping smoking, healthy eating, essential screening, vaccinations and mental well-being.

It includes a holistic support programme, with access to psychiatrists and psychologists to help patients begin a recovery from life on the streets and harmful substance use.

The intention is to meet immediate needs while providing opportunities for long term change, contributing to ending rough sleeping and tackling entrenched health inequalities.