The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Homeless Health Network.
Launched in 2007, the network has made huge progress in addressing homeless health, which is ‘one of the most complex areas of nursing’, by focusing on issues of poor physical health and mental health in the homeless population.
Founding members Jane Cook and Dr Jane Gray OBE, said: ‘Ten years ago, we gathered information about the needs of nurses working with the homeless and other vulnerable groups (asylum seekers, Travellers and sex workers) across the UK.
The nurses were all aligned in our unfaltering belief that the best way to develop and to deliver professional, high quality and respectful care to people who were homeless was by ensuring nurses had the right support to do their work.’
The two met back in 2007 when they had both already been providing a voluntary service to support a number of Homeless Health nurses and agreed on the need for a more formal structure in order to provide comprehensive care.
Not only does the network support the physical and mental health of the homeless, but it also addresses some of the wider determinants of health, such as drug addiction, immigration status, housing and poverty.
Starting from modest beginnings, the network now has over 1500 members. The QNI has been supporting the network’s development throughout, and has used its work to help influence government policy on homelessness and inclusion.
‘The QNI’s Homeless Health work has been an effective source of support over the last ten years, helping community nurses to grow skills, knowledge and confidence, increase their range of knowledge and to have a voice in policy at a national level,’ said Dr Crystal Oldman CBE, chief executive of the QNI.