Housing

Mildmay Hospital to get funding to treat homeless people with coronavirus

Campaigners including the Museum of Homelessness, Streets Kitchen and Islington Council reps are celebrating a win after they campaigned for the specialist HIV hospital to get beds funded for homeless Covid-19 patients

A campaign to save an East London hospital from closure so it can treat homeless Covid-19 patients has been given the green light after NHS England promised to fund it as needed.

Last week we reported on the efforts of activists from the Museum of Homelessness and Streets Kitchen when they teamed up with Islington Council – in a bid to lobby the government for funding that could offer rough sleepers with coronavirus a place at Mildmay Hospital to receive treatment.

Now bosses at the specialist HIV hospital, which has been threatened with closure, have heard from NHS England that they will receive the necessary funding to help take the pressure off other hospitals.

Mildmay can accommodate rough sleepers in up to 12 rooms – and beds are needed so desperately that the hospital is taking in patients ahead of the funding reaching them.

Hospital chief executive Geoff Coleman told The Big Issue that the facility is already close to full capacity, weeks before the predicted peak of the pandemic in the UK.

The future remains uncertain for Mildmay, which needs £5 million in government funding if it is to stay open for the next year.

But for now a hospital spokesperson says staff are focused on “playing [their] part in this National Emergency”.

In a letter to Robert Jenrick, the Communities Secretary, as part of the campaign to open up the hospital to rough sleepers the signatories said they were “deeply concerned” by the lack of planning for street homeless people in London as the COVID-19 pandemic deepened.

The campaigners said there was clear evidence that rough sleepers are significantly more at risk during the pandemic due to a higher rate of underlying health conditions like chronic pulmonary obstructive disease.

“Given the extreme level of risk to this population, we are asking that MHCLG divert emergency funding as soon as possible to the Mildmay Hospital which stands ready to admit patients experiencing homelessness for specialist care,” the letter said.

Since the hospital received word that the funding would be granted, the Museum of Homelessness said it was “amazing to see it a reality”.

They added: “We so hope it will save lives in our community.”

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Beat the Streets music festival funds new homes for rough sleepers: 'If we could do more, we would'
Homelessness

Beat the Streets music festival funds new homes for rough sleepers: 'If we could do more, we would'

Rents in UK are rising at highest rate in decades. Will they keep going up?
rents uk
Renting

Rents in UK are rising at highest rate in decades. Will they keep going up?

Scotland needs real-time rough sleeping count to save lives
rough sleeping and temporary accommodation in Scotland is under the spotlight on Buchanan Street in Glasgow
homelessness

Scotland needs real-time rough sleeping count to save lives

'More bad news for renters': Rental crisis continues with steep rent rises despite inflation falling
inflation is falling but rents are still rising at a faster rate than wages
RENTING

'More bad news for renters': Rental crisis continues with steep rent rises despite inflation falling

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know