FIGURES released by Poole Hospital show that despite there being only 13 people officially classed as rough sleepers in the borough, more than 200 homeless people were seen at Poole Hospital's A&E department last year

According to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government the number of rough sleepers in Poole in 2017 were less than 20.

But the town's hospital saw 241 homeless people attended Poole's emergency department. In the same period the year before, the department had 301 attendances by people classified as homeless.

In response to a request for information from the Daily Echo, the hospital said there were 98 homeless inpatient admissions in 2017 to 2018 and 121 homeless inpatient admissions in 2016 to 2017.

The main reasons patients were admitted was due to: 'Injury, poisoning and certain other consequences of external causes’, followed by diseases of the skin and ‘injuries involving multiple body regions.’

In Bournemouth, which officially had 48 rough sleepers in the town last year - up from 39 in 2016 - the hospital's A&E said that in 2017, 191 people with no fixed abode attended their Emergency Department a total of 459 times.

BJ Waltho, Associate Director of Operations at the hospital, said the patients were mainly seen for alcohol and substance misuse, overdoses, personality and psychotic disorders, anxiety, appendicitis and concussion.

The main issue with treating people who are homeless came about because they had 'no proper address' for appointments or medicine, she said."It's hard to get them to commit to a course of treatment or medicine," she said. "Homeless patients aren’t difficult to treat but they don’t always take medical advice when they are discharged."

Both hospitals were unable to provide a breakdown of the costs of treating homeless people. However, just three months ago Poole hospital's own chief operating officer commented on the homeless issue on Twitter.

Mark Mould said: "In Bournemouth town centre yesterday. Always look to support homeless in the best way we can - but taken aback by the number of people approaching for money. Seen 30 million pledge from government to improve rough sleeping. Is this only part of solution?”

When asked to expand on these observations, he declined.