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HOMELESS DEATH NUMBERS BLOCKED BY MANCHESTER HOSPITAL NHS TRUST
 

Star date: 12th February 2018

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION CHRISTMAS HOMELESS DEATH REQUEST BLOCKED

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Manchester Royal Infirmary, has blocked a Salford Star Freedom of Information request on the numbers of homeless people who died over the Christmas period.

While the Trust did confirm that there had been homeless deaths over the period, it refused to disclose numbers. Other hospital trusts in Greater Manchester, however, did respond, as they had no recorded deaths that matched the criteria...

Full details here...


Just before Christmas, the Salford Star ran an article which asked 'Did A Homeless Man Die In A Doorway In Manchester Piccadilly?' (see previous article Ė click here).

Pat, a voluntary outreach worker with Salford Manchester Street Support, was convinced that a man she found lifeless in the doorway was dead but, other than the North West Ambulance Service confirming that the man had been taken to Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI), no other information was forthcoming. Greater Manchester Police press office merely stated that 'Looking on our logs there isn't anything that corresponds with this'.

"I think it's a cover up" Pat told the Salford Star "I think there's an order from the Government, or police or councils, whoever, not to report the numbers of people dying. They don't want people to know how many people are dying on the street."

There were subsequently rumours of further deaths of homeless people over the Christmas period, which, again, couldn't be substantiated, so the Salford Star put in Freedom of Information requests to every hospital trust in Greater Manchester asking for details of all deaths during the period 10th November 2017 until 10th January 2018, where the person was of 'no fixed abode'/homeless'.

We asked for 'names and causes of death, although if this isn't possible please provide numbers and causes of death'...

The Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust and Penine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust (which represent Salford Royal, the Royal Oldham and North Manchester General Hospital) responded, together with Stockport NHS Foundation Trust (which represents Stepping Hill Hospital) and Bolton NHS Foundation Trust (The Royal Bolton Hospital) Ė all stated that there were no deaths during the period that matched the criteria.

However, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, which represents Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI) and Wythenshawe Hospital, blocked its response, stating that releasing names would breach the Data Protection Act, which is acceptable. But the Trust added that releasing numbers would also breach the Act...

"Due to the small number involved detail of deaths no fixed adobe/homeless is not being released" the Trust stated in its response "Section 40(2) of the FOI Act provides that personal data about third parties is exempt information if one of the conditions set out in section 40(3) is satisfied. Under the Act disclosure of this information would breach the fair processing principle contained in the Data Protection Act (DPA), therefore this information is not being released."

The Trust, in a roundabout way, did confirm that there had been deaths of homeless people over the Christmas period by releasing the 'causes of death' as 'Cardiac Arrest'.

Angela Barratt, from Salford Manchester Street Support, called for figures to be released in the original Salford Star article; "We need to know who these people are who have died. It's not fair" she said, asking "Why should they have to die on the streets in 2017, in one of the richest countries in the world? This is Dark Age Britain."

In late January, after the period stated in the Salford Star Freedom of Information requests, Simon Williams, the uncle of a homeless man from Salford who sadly died after living on the streets in Manchester city centre, asked why the death wasn't reported and, again accused the authorities of a 'cover up'.*

"Homelessness should be a thing of the past; for Christ's sake we are living in 2018 and not the times of Charles Dickens" he said "When will people wake up and put an end to this? Surely to cover up one death is bad enough, but four since Christmas? In my eyes questions need answering.

"Didn't Andy Burnham, Greater Manchester Mayor, get in on promises to help the homeless?" he asked "Mr Mayor, we need action not false promises...and an end to what I believe is a cover up of the misery on our streets..."



* See previous Salford Star article: As Homeless Salford Man Dies, Uncle Asks Why It's Not Being Reported Ė click here

See also Salford Star article - Salford Rough Sleeping Almost Doubles - click here

David M wrote
at 22:33:48 on 12 February 2018
National statistics are also not publicising numbers, normally publish by counties, looking on the internet 2001-2009 last time shown, this was in excess of 1759 deaths, coroners and councils should submit numbers to statistics for public information access, the weather has decreased over the years, numbers of rough sleepers and homeless have increased, local government policies are putting those people in danger by issueing fines to people who support, removal of personal items as in tents and sleeping bags leaving them open to elements, beaucracy and red tape delaying people getting homes, sanctioned benefits, all these add up to causing deaths, common sense should be used these are human beings!!!!!!

Bob the regular wrote
at 18:30:42 on 12 February 2018
This is in the public interest. This matter has got to be suitable for judicial review. If people are dying on the streets, we need to know how many, so we can do something about it.Go back and threaten them with review. They will see sense.

Joe Oneill wrote
at 18:30:06 on 12 February 2018
Phil are you with us? Dennett walked the streets to count the people his council have neglected and our MP what as she done for the Homeless? they get the big bucks me i spent 25 years of my life looking after the elderly You? put your name next time and your Labour membership car number. I hate people lacking in a pair.

Mary ferrer wrote
at 14:27:12 on 12 February 2018
By not giving the figures that tells me the number is high.The star only asked for the numbers,not their names.the poor people who are out there at this moment in time must be freezing. They are members of someones family and friends. They have fallen on hard times for what ever reason.There but the grace of God. This is 2018 not 1818.They deserve respect in life and in death.

Phil wrote
at 14:27:08 on 12 February 2018
You are a despicable man, Joe, getting in early with your attempt at canvassing future votes. How many bedrooms do you have? Do you have a shed or a garage? If you care so much, then why don't you put your money where your mouth is. At least Mayor Dennett and Miss Long Bailey have actually had the grit to spend a night out on the streets in order to highlight the plight of the homeless. Outside of your "comments", what have you done?

CBP wrote
at 11:46:40 on 12 February 2018
Somebody told me yesterday that there were "56 homeless deaths in the UK over the last year" I'm sure it's much more than that, we don;t have any 'official statistics'. We only really now from the homeless community themselves, because another homeless person knew the person who died. When I look at the wealth of sonme of these homeless charities I sometimes wonder that keeping people in a perpetual homeless position (albeit temporarily housing them)is in the charities best financial interests. They'd go bust if we actually found a solution to homelessness becaus homelessness is their commodity.

joe oneill wrote
at 11:46:34 on 12 February 2018
I sat last night with a warm drink chatting with the wife and wondering will the snow stick, would i have problems getting the car out of the drive, lucky me to have such trivial issues, i wondered then for those poor souls out in this, homeless in Britain 2018, we welcome people from other countries protest over the treatment under their governments and yet turn a blind eye to people freezing to death on our streets. The accusations of racist, fascist stream from the leftist handbook but surely charity begins at home. I give money when i pass people begging on our streets but apart from that nothing i live with my shame sadly with thousands of others across this city, i asked UKIP members in salford would they allow me to donate cash to a salford food bank they agreed the cash not wanted we found one charity, sad when you struggle to give cash, sad when the people who run these groups can refuse without reason. sad others suffer when there is hope.

Gareth L wrote
at 10:38:31 on 12 February 2018
I feel we can only conclude that person in the Star's original article has died. It is shameful that nothing seems to have changed despite the Mayor of Manchesters "election pledges". I am sure he wont be going cold.

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