The Homeless Live 20 Years Less Than the Rest of Population


Caritas warns that the withdrawal of the medical card increases the vulnerability of the group. People who are homeless in Spain have a life expectancy 20 years less than that of other citizens and have between two to fifty times more physical problems that they, according to a report denouncing Caritas deprivation of the right to health facing this group, worsened with health reform: ‘Almost 70%” of those living on the street have been affected’.

The report compares a previous one by the entity in 2007 with data collected during the second quarter of 2013 in 35 Diocesan Caritas (CCDD) of 35 autonomous communities, describing how health conditions and access to health care of homeless people are manifestly more adverse than those of the general population.

‘The people experiencing homelessness, to occupy less favorable social positions, are socially and individually exposed to adopt lifestyles with greater health risks than people who have better conditions and, by extension, in positions more favorable’ says the study.

In this sense, nearly seven in ten diocesan consulted refer homeless people they serve have chronic physical or organic disease and nine out of ten, point directly to chronic mental health disorders. In addition, 90% pointed to their beneficiaries, ‘mostly’, suffering from chronic addictions. In 2007, 59% reported no substance use.

Difficulties for Health Reform

80% of the consulters agree, stating that ‘there are difficulties in access to public health resources’ for those living on the street, in six out of ten cases, lacking health card as a result of the reform of the Ministry of Health has restricted this document to those who have a residence permit. Caritas remember, with data from the National Statistics Institute, that seven out of ten homeless people in Spain are foreign nationals.

For Caritas, the reform is ‘a model change that primarily affects the most disadvantaged’, both Spanish citizens and citizens of the EU, ‘increasing stigmatization of the most vulnerable and most at risk of social exclusion’. In this sense, refers to irregular migrants to report that ‘exclusion’ of the health system ‘will add a very severe suffering’ to an already vulnerable group ‘that cannot be sacrificed on the grounds of efficiency.’

The entity analyzes the particular difficulties in access of these people to different levels of medical care and notes that, in general, face three problems: the lack of resources for mental health care, lack of places in specialized resources and lack post-hospital resources plus burocacia problems and protocols.

Insensitivity & Waiting Lists

In access to primary care, lack of health insurance card is ‘the main problem faced by homeless health centers. For specialized care, the greatest difficulty with the homeless to have specialized care is waiting lists and, as regards hospital care, the report states discharged without recourse alternative accommodation and lists waiting.

The report notes that ‘the violation of this right multiplies the negative impact’ against people who are homeless ‘because of their physical and mental illness untreated.’ ‘There are no comprehensive intervention protocols and coordinated at the situation of homelessness. Waiting lists, lack of diagnosis or updating; bureaucratization, highly specific drugs costs mean that the situation is already unstable and full of people without home become chronic and intensified complaint.

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