Homeless health: duty to refer

Duty to refer: guidance for NHS staff

On 1 October 2018, the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 introduced a new legal duty on specified public services to refer service users they consider may be homeless or threatened with homelessness to a local housing authority.

For health services the impact will be on NHS trusts and foundation trusts in the provision of any of the following NHS health services:

  • accident and emergency services in a hospital
  • urgent treatment centres
  • in-patient treatment (of any kind)

See the full Government duty to refer guidance for NHS staff. You can also find a helpful 1-page checklist to support the referral process.*

Also see the Government guidance for all public bodies including local authorities.

*This content first appeared on the Department of Heath and Social Care website and was Published on 14 November 2018, and updated on 28 November 2018.

Further guidance on supporting people who are homeless when being discharged from hospital can be found in the LGA and ADASS high impact change model for managing transfers of care and the accompanying support tool.

See more about London’s Homeless Health programme.