Everyone talks about the growing inequality between those at the arse end of society and the rest. Despite GM Mayor, Andy Burnham's pledge to 'eradicate the need to sleep rough', you can't help but almost trip over more and more people sleeping in doorways and under bridges in Salford and Manchester.
Rough living takes its toll on health. While life expectancy for Salford men is 68.6 years and women 75.3 years, for the homeless this drops to a staggering 47 years for men and 43 years for women. The homeless are nine times more likely to kill themselves, and twice as likely to die of infections. They are also five times more likely to attend A&E and the costs can be up to eight times higher than average due to the complexity of need.
Social inequalities are mirrored with health inequalities, and a new huge £115,000 project, horribly titled Salford Partnership Inclusive Health Programme (Vulnerable Adults), hopes to go some way to bring some health equity into the equation.
Financed by Salford Primary Care Together and run by the Salford Unemployed and Community Resource Centre (SUCRC), homeless people and ex-offenders in Irlam and Eccles will now have access to health assessments and dental care, which will include 'oral screening, blood borne virus testing, smoking, drug and alcohol issues, tuberculosis, mental health, diet and exercise'.
By sorting such issues at source, it is hoped that the unique project will not only help the homeless and ex-offenders to get better health care and live longer and in more comfort, but also will help save the NHS money by reducing hospital visits.
"We're delighted to receive this funding which will allow us to alleviate some of the entrenched ill health, and resulting poor quality of life in marginalised communities in Eccles and Irlam" says Alec McFadden, SUCRC Centre Manager "Healthier communities will have a knock on, positive impact on wider networks of families and neighbourhoods, helping to challenge some of our enduring economic and social issues such as high levels of poverty and more importantly, save lives."