"HOMELESSNESS" was the diagnosis for more than 700 emergency admissions at hospitals and an NHS trust in the Bradford district over the past five years.

NHS Digital data revealed that homelessness was a factor in at least 785 visits to Bradford Royal Infirmary (Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust), Airedale General Hospital (Airedale NHS Trust) and Bradford District Care Trust (BDCT), in that time.

The five year period runs up to March 2021.

The trust figures, which are rounded to the nearest five, cover patients where the primary or secondary cause of admission was homelessness.

BRI's was by far the highest of the three Bradford district trusts, with roughly 660 emergency admissions relating to homelessness.

There were at least 45 emergency visits to Airedale that ended with a diagnosis of homelessness.

BDCT - which provides mental health, community and learning disability, dementia, dental and children services, often in the home - had at least 80 emergency admissions linked to homelessness.

Numbers were also suppressed in one year for Airedale and BDCT, when between one and seven further cases were recorded, to prevent the identification of individual patients.

Across England, emergency admissions linked to homelessness rose significantly in the four years before the coronavirus pandemic, from 11,300 in 2016-17 to 16,700 in 2019-20.

But, this number fell back to 12,000 in 2020-21 amid efforts to get people off the streets and into emergency accommodation through the Everyone In initiative.

Matt Downie, director of policy and external affairs at homelessness charity Crisis, said the drop in admissions last year "is one of the success stories of the pandemic".

He added: “We have an opportunity now to continue and build on this progress.

"A room in a B&B or hotel is not a home, and we need continued cross-government action to tackle the housing crisis if we want to ensure these figures do not revert back to the escalating numbers we were seeing prior to the pandemic."

Abuse of alcohol and drugs, as well as mental health problems, are among the most common reasons for hospital admissions among homeless people nationally, the figures show.

Homeless Link, a charity, said many vulnerable people have had such negative experiences when accessing health care that they put off seeking help until they’ve reached crisis point.