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Supporting people with multiple needs: Cost to Society

12 February 2014

Nick O’Shea, Director of Operations at Resolving Chaos

Nick O SheaAs Director of Operations at Resolving Chaos, I have a strong track record of working with people with multiple needs and over the years I’ve witnessed the same recurring issues of homelessness, poor mental-health, substance addiction and offending. The fact is, it can happen to anyone and often one issue can lead to another, without a real resolution ever being found. These are often quite complex issues, with a cause and effect, which can impact not only on the individual, but on society as a whole. Problems such as these can be exacerbated even more so by a lack of funding and resources, which can lead to the right help not being delivered to the people who need it most.

In Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark we carried out an assessment on 15 of the most chaotic people who had a long history of poor outcomes, use of crisis services, homelessness, illness, addiction and imprisonment. We looked at A&E appointments, the method of transport to hospital, evictions and mental health inpatient care. In two years the services used by these 15 people amounted to £1.83 million (not including rent or benefits). One vulnerable individual with multiple needs cost £193,750 over two years.

People like this remain trapped in a never- ending cycle of engaging with a range of services and yet their underlying needs remaining unmet. They continue to be viewed as a drain on society but the reality is they are all mothers, fathers, sons and daughters like the rest of us and with the right support can become an asset to society.

That is why I welcome this funding from Big Lottery Fund which will help us bring together services to provide more effective outcomes for this group.  This in turn will bring about significant savings to the public purse and improved quality of life for these people and those around them.

Ultimately our aim is to ‘resolve’ these issues, by tackling not just the people who have them but the services that are provided to them.  We will focus on more personalised action plans, tailored to their individual requirements. A one-size fits all approach is costly and ineffective. The ambition is to shift from a costly crisis-driven service response to one that is focused on recovery and offers more cost effective alternative preventative options.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. sandra permalink
    12 February 2014 12:10 pm


  2. Mo Minda permalink
    21 December 2015 6:04 am

    Effective alternative preventative options such as?

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