Guardian: “NHS slashes funds for top homeless mental health team”

Fears for rough sleepers as specialist north London unit faces 42% budget reduction.

NHS Homeless funding cuts

NHS bosses are under fire for cutting back a team of doctors and nurses who provide mental health care to one of Britain’s largest groups of homeless people.

Camden NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in north London is giving the Focus Homeless Outreach team £219,866 less a year starting on 1 April, a leaked CCG document reveals. One of the team’s two psychiatrists and one of its six nurses will lose their jobs as a result.

Critics say the decision makes a mockery of Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt’s repeated claims that NHS mental health services are receiving record amounts of funding to improve care. They fear it will lead to more rough sleepers suffering mental health crises and killing themselves, and that it will add to the already heavy demand for care being faced by hospitals and GPs in Camden.

The CCG is pressing ahead with the 42% cut to the £521,000 budget it gave the team this year despite a storm of protest from local GPs, psychiatrists, homeless charities and managers of hostels where rough sleepers sometimes stay. Camden had the third highest rate of rough sleeping in England in 2017, recent government statistics showed – more than Manchester, Bristol and Cornwall.

Focus, set up 25 years ago, helps treat the high levels of depression, psychosis and other mental health conditions found in rough sleepers, hostel dwellers and “sofa surfers”, including some asylum seekers and people who have been trafficked. Its budget is being reduced even though it is regarded by NHS, local council and social work bosses in London as a model of good practice of how to reach the kind of group that often shuns traditional NHS services…

Read the full article on the Guardian website here.


Severe Weather Emergency Protocol

If you are concerned about someone who is homeless, please ensure that they are aware of the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP). This means that anyone who is homeless can present at their local council, or contact the out of hours team & ask for assistance to be accommodated in a B&B, hostel or night shelter whilst the temperature is 0° or below.

They don’t need to prove a local connection or be in priory need. No one should be left to manage these conditions.

If people do not wish to accept temporary accommodation, local homeless projects can often help with robust sleeping bags.

Frontline member Clive campaigning at DDN conference!

On Thursday 22nd February, VoiceAbility supported 4 service users to attend the annual Drink Drug News (DDN) conference in Birmingham.

Following a talk about supported housing called “More than Bricks and Mortar” Frontline member Clive took the microphone to contribute to the conversation. You can watch Clive in action here:



Camden services for people with “no recourse to public funds”

Following Frontline’s complaints about the lack of services available to people with no recourse to public funds, Camden’s Community Safety team have provided this list of services.

Cold Weather Shelters:

Homeless shelter (no access to public funds)

Refugee and Asylum Services:

Refugee services 1

Refugee services 2

Refugee services 3

Hostels for people with no Camden connection:

Hostels no access 1

Hostels no access 2

Hostels no access 3


London Winter Shelters


Homeless link have released a list of London Winter shelters. The Camden one is:

C4WS runs from 9 November 2017 to 29 March 2018, closing for a week at Christmas when guests go to Crisis at Christmas
Phone: 07598 066712
Gender: Mixed
Age: 18+
Who can access? Homeless people, including those with a range of support needs. No local connection is required.
How to access? Can only accept referrals from Camden-based agencies with whom C4WS have a signed Service Level Agreement. Please phone to check vacancy details; if there is a vacancy, the referring agency is required to fill out a guest referral form on behalf of their client. If C4WS can accept the guest, the guest will be given directions to the shelter for that evening. Guests should not turn up at the venue without their agency completing a referral first. All spaces must be booked in advance.
How many spaces are there? 16
What times does the shelter open and close? The shelter opens for admissions from 7.30pm with last admissions at 7:45pm. Guests must leave by 8:45am.
Rules: No alcohol is allowed on shelter premises and no smoking inside shelter buildings. Guests must register with welfare manager. Anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated. Guests Must accept C4WS ethos and accept terms of stay.

You can find the full list here: London Winter Shelters 2017-18_version7ocx


Clive’s story

Long time Frontline member Clive has been interviewed and given permission for us to put his story here on the Frontline website. Come along to Frontline at 12.30 on the first Thursday of every month to meet the man himself!

Clive's story


The five most addictive substances in the world (and 3 of them are legal!)


We’d never recommend anyone does drugs (especially the illegal ones). But if you do have your heart set on mind-altering substances, it’s probably wise to avoid these five – as they’ve been found to be the most addictive substances in the world. Oh dear. A group of addiction experts, chemists, forensic scientists, and pharmacologists, headed up by Professor David Nutt, analysed the addictive qualities of different drugs to have a go at ranking them in terms of how addictive they are. The researchers averaged out three factors: pleasure given by use, psychological dependence, and physical dependence. They then gave each drug a ranking from zero to three, with zero being the least addictive and three being the most. Here are the five substances they rated to be the most addictive. It’s worth noting that while alcohol comes in at number five in terms of its addictive qualities, previous research lists is as the most damaging of the drug of the lost, with the World Health Organisation estimating that around 5.9% deaths worldwide are attributable to alcohol consumption.

The five most addictive substances in the world:

Heroin, with a score of 3

Cocaine, with a score of 2.4

Nicotine, with a score of 2.2

Barbiturates, with a score of 2

Alcohol, with a score of 1.9

Barbiturates, meanwhile, are often prescribed to treat seizures and anxiety. The most addictive drugs aren’t all the big scary Class A’s you might expect – three (nicotine, barbiturates, and alcohol) of the top five are legal to consume and widely accepted to use. That doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous. Be careful out there.

Article reposted from The Metro:


Number of UK crack users seeking help to beat addiction is up 23%

Increased need for support and rise in seizure of the smokable form of cocaine come as overall numbers accessing drug treatment is down

Crack cocaine
 There was a 12% rise in people seeking to beat an addiction to both crack and opiates. 

National Drug Treatment Monitoring System figures show 3,657 people asked for help to stop using the smokable form of cocaine in the year to April 2016, compared with 2,980 in the previous year. There was a 12% increase in people seeking to beat an addiction to both crack and opiates – such as heroin – in the same period, to 21,854.

Overall, opiate use remained the most common reason to seek help, with just over half of patients battling addictions to heroin, methadone and similar substances. But the sharp rise in numbers asking for help with crack addiction sparked concerns, after a much smaller rise of 3% the previous year.

Separate data, released on Thursday by the Home Office, showed a 16% rise in seizures of crack in the year to April 2017.

Overall, 279,793 people accessed drug treatment services in England in the year to April 2017, of whom 69% were male and 90% were white.

The NDTMS report, published on Thursday, agreed that the increase in the numbers seeking treatment for crack addiction probably reflected a rise in the use of the drug. “This increase in the number of new users may be in part caused by changes in the purity and affordability of crack cocaine over the last few years,” the report said.

In a blogpost accompanying the release, Rosanna O’Connor, a drugs expert at Public Health England, speculated that changes in drug supply networks, including the “county lines” phenomenon, where metropolitan drug gangs are branching out to establish outposts in provincial towns, may also be playing a role.

“You can bet your bottom dollar that if the Home Office are reporting greater seizures the price is coming down, because that means for every one they seize they’ll be ten that will get by,” Hamilton said. “So that would definitely indicate that price is coming down of crack, and it may just be that, it may just be a price-led thing where it’s cheap and it’s easy to get hold of.”

He added: “Health economists have this rule that price and availability drive drug use geographically, so whether you’re in Brixton or Bournemouth or Bolivia, if the price is sufficiently low and the drug sufficiently available then you’ll get that drug used in that area.”


London Winter Shelters 2017-18 list

Temperatures have dropped, and with London in the grips of its first cold snap, we have produced a list of the emergency shelters that will be open in the capital this winter.

Updates may be made to this listing as the winter progresses and more information becomes available about some of the shelters.

The winter shelters are listed under the boroughs in which they operate, so some appear more than once. Crisis at Christmas operates a service across London, and is included as the first entry. Some boroughs are not listed at all – Housing Justice may be able to advise on projects operating in these areas.

The Homeless England website gives more details of the winter shelters, as well as other emergency accommodation, advice and support services for people experiencing homelessness.

London Winter Shelters 2017-18_version2.pdf | 443K



“The Opposite Of Addiction is Connection” Do you agree?

Article from :

Right now an exciting new perspective on addiction is emerging. Johann Harri, author of Chasing The Scream, recently captured widespread public interest with his Ted talk Everything You Know About Addiction Is Wrong, where he concluded with this powerful statement:

“The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection.” – Johann Harri

These sentiments are augmented by a growing number of experts, including addiction specialist Dr Gabor Maté, who cites ’emotional loss and trauma’ as the core of addiction. Compare this ’emotional loss’ to Johan Harri’s idea about lack of connection and it is clear they’re talking about a similar emotional condition.

Read the full article here:

Do you agree with these findings? Feel free to leave your comments below.