Dr Muninder Lotay, Clinical Lead, Homeless Patient Pathway

WITH homelessness a growing problem in the UK and figures in our area double the national average, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals has teamed up with other health providers and partners to offer life changing help to those who need it.

Enter our local NHS Hero Dr Muninder Lotay (35) who is clinical lead for the Homeless Patient Pathway.

The yoga loving GP explained: “For those who are homeless life expectancy is almost thirty years less than the UK average for those with a permanent roof. Often difficult and unpreventable circumstances have placed them homeless which in turn places their health at serious risk.

“The homeless are unique in that they often suffer with physical, mental and social ill health at the same time. Homeless patients discharged after their physical problem is healed often come back to hospital again and again. This is known as the revolving door syndrome. Ensuring that we address the mental health and social circumstances of such patients on admission ensures a holistic approach and safeguards against deterioration of health on discharge and subsequent readmission.

“Knowing that with committed effort I can make a difference to improve the life of another drives me to do the best I can. Over time, in the grand scheme of things, I have realized that the life changing event of going from housed to homeless is only a step away. It would be a mistake to say that the homeless are a subsection of society, as fundamentally they are no different to you or I. Had I not had the overwhelming support of loving parents and a well structured society when it mattered, I genuinely believe I too would be homeless.

“For me the staff of the Homeless Health Exchange are my heroes. The receptionists, nurses and GPs working there have taught me what commitment, patience and perseverance can do – often with people who may be difficult to engage with or require several attempts before they are willing to recognize or deal with their health issues. These staff really are a pillar for a vulnerable community and ensure good medical care is delivered where others may have easily given up.”

Dr Lotay is presenting at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust’s event ‘Raising the Roof for Homelessness’ on Friday 28th February, where he will detail the journey so far in the project to help the homeless.

He advised: “Statistics have shown that the Homeless Patient Pathway has reduced readmission rates for patients who have been frequently admitted to hospital. It has also enabled several allied agencies such as housing, mental health, primary care, drug and alcohol services to work more closely together. This promotes joined up care and further closes the distinction between primary and secondary care. Here we can truly see the seamless transition of health between primary and secondary care.”

In addition to his work with the homeless, Dr Lotay works as an urgent care doctor at the weekends.