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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Rough sleepers turn to DIY as they are denied healthcare

Investment is needed to provide rough sleepers with vital healthcare, a Catholic centre for vulnerable young people has demanded, after it was revealed that one in six homeless people had been forced to pull out their own teeth.

Cathy Corcoran, CEO of the Cardinal Hume Centre said a recent study by homelessness charity Groundswell had highlighted the shocking realities homeless people are faced with when seeking healthcare.

The research found 15 per cent of homeless people have pulled out their own teeth, 70 per cent reported having lost teeth since they had been homeless, 17 per cent said they had lost teeth following acts of violence and seven per cent had no teeth at all.

“The recent Groundswell report reflects the utterly grim reality of life on the streets, particularly for those who are not accessing the care they so desperately need,” Ms Corcoran told The Universe.

The Cardinal Hume Centre was supporting homeless people who find themselves in such a predicament and had been a much-needed lifeline, but more needed to be done.

“The Cardinal Hume Centre is proud to host The Doctor Hickey Surgery, a busy GP surgery which has been with us at our premises in Westminster since we opened in 1987. Their doctors work tirelessly to provide very best standards of care for those without a fixed address. For some people, this place is quite literally a lifeline. What we need to see is more investment in such vital services, to help those on the streets get the healthcare they need.”

Labour MP Stella Creasy (Walthamstow) recently cited the report when she told ministers that many homeless people “hit a brick wall” when they try to access dental services.

Picture: File photo dated 07/02/17 of a person sleeping rough in a doorway. (Yui Mok/PA).