A group of doctors in Liverpool have spoken out over the city's refugee homelessness crisis.

This weekend the Liverpool ECHO published a special report revealing how hundreds of refugees are already facing homelessness in Liverpool, with many left to walk the cold and wet streets at night.

The crisis has been created after the fast-tracking of asylum decisions at the Home Office, with some newly registered refugees being granted as little as seven days to leave their asylum accommodation and move on.

READ MORE:'Malign presence' Niall Barry could not hide his role as head of toxic OCG

READ MORE:'Ridiculous' scenarios 'liar' Lee Harrison gave Ashley Dale's mum after her murder

Many of these refugees are now facing homelessness and turning to the city council and local charities for help. Council leader Liam Robinson has described the situation as an emergency and requested urgent additional funds from government.

Now a group of doctors based in the city have penned an open letter, raising their concerns about the health implications of this emergency in the city. The group includes GP Dr Ryan Young and consultants Dr Hassan Burhan and Jonathan Folb.

The letter has been sent to other health professionals in Liverpool and asks for the city council to provide a 'practical and humane response' for the hundreds of people granted refugee status in Liverpool who are expected to become homeless in the winter weeks ahead.

Addressed to Liverpool Council, the letter states: "We understand that a large number of people seeking asylum, living in Liverpool, have had or are due to have a decision made on their asylum claim. If granted asylum these individuals will lose accommodation provided by the Home Office, becoming homeless.

"It is well recognised that any period of homelessness will be harmful to one’s physical health. However, with the winter approaching fast we are concerned that, now particularly, people are at significant risk of ill-health due to homelessness. Without assistance many people will be forced to sleep rough significantly increasing risk of death."

The letter adds: "Further, individuals who have been granted refugee status are recognised by the Government as having fled persecution; many having already suffered persecution, harm, and ill-treatment in their country of origin.

"These individuals have lost their home, culture, family, and friends. By virtue of being a refugee they have already suffered a great deal. Levels of mental ill health; Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety are extremely high in this population. We are concerned that homelessness compounds mental suffering and harm."

The doctors say that as well as harm to the individual, the potential homelessness crisis will also add pressures onto the healthcare system in Liverpool, which is already under "huge stress."

The letter adds: "Due to the housing crisis, we are aware of long delays in processing homelessness applications in Liverpool. While individuals wait for decisions to be made, they are suffering homelessness. Further we are concerned that a large proportion of people seeking asylum may be assessed and classed as ‘non-priority need’ and therefore deemed ineligible for assistance with accommodation."

The doctors said they welcome and support a recent letter from council leader Liam Robinson to the government requesting extra funds for homeless services in Liverpool, but added: "However, we are concerned that with or without this extra support there is a lack of a practical plan to prevent homelessness for those being granted refugee status in Liverpool."

The doctors have asked the council to make and share plans for the current housing crisis, including people granted refugee status and to undertake homelessness assessments with all individuals before they leave asylum accommodation. The doctors have also asked the council to recognise people granted refugee status as 'priority need.'

Finally, the letter asks for the council to: "Provide accommodation for all people experiencing homelessness this winter, planned with the expectation that there will be a significant increase owing to people newly granted refugee status."

Speaking about the crisis, Liverpool Council leader Liam Robinson told the ECHO: "We've always been very proud to be a city of sanctuary. We don't turn our backs on people, we help those people who are in need. We have always done the right thing by refugees and asylum seekers.

"My own view is that every local authority needs to be the same and the government needs to make sure that every local authority is doing that but this is a national scale issue and the government needs to come up with the right national approach for it."

"Once people have been given leave to remain, they are being asked to vacate the accommodation they are in within a couple of weeks in some circumstances, that's not practical to find people the long-term, decent, affordable home they need."

Cllr Robinson added: "What we will make sure is that there is no reason why anyone should spend a night on the streets, particularly when the extreme temperatures of winter kick in when we have the protocols to make sure everyone is brought inside before the temperature is freezing.

"We are always proud in this city of doing the right thing and looking after those in need and that's exactly what we will do again this winter."

The Liverpool Daily Post newsletter delves into the biggest stories on Merseyside