SCOTLAND'S care system at its worst is a "manufacturing plant for homelessness" according to the head of Scotland's independent Care Review.

Fiona Duncan told a conference in Glasgow that the system for looking after children who cannot live at home safeguarded their welfare but not their wellbeing.

Often the homes care leavers are given are poor quality, but most do not have enough money to improve them, leaving many feeling lonely and unsafe, Ms Duncan said.

She added: "Those with the greatest needs leave first. But seldom do those who leave consider themselves ready to live outside the system.

"Seldom do they feel they have the life skills such as cooking and budgeting they need. Seldom to they feel safe living on their own.

"Lots and lots of them leave the telly on overnight because used to living in a system that is chaotic.

"Once you leave the system there is no way back. At its worst, the care system is a manufacturing plant for homelessness."

Ms Duncan is half way through a three year independent review of the care system, which was commissioned by the Scottish Government.

She was speaking at a conference in Glasgow that heard shocking figures about the health risks of homelessness.

Official figures show people who have been homeless are twice as likely to die as people in the most deprived areas of Scotland and more than five times more likely than people living in wealthy areas, according to figures published by the Scottish Government.

In a study of 1.3 million Scots covering 15 years between 2001 and 2016, of the 23,718 people who died, 60 per cent had experienced homelessness.

The event, held by Glasgow Homeless Network, heard homeless people had a much higher rate of admission to A&E, drug and alcohol use and mental health problems than the general population.

However more than half of homeless people in the study had no evidence of health conditions relating to drugs, alcohol or mental health.

The figures have led to calls for renewed efforts to prevent families and individuals becoming homeless.

Dr Andrew Waugh, co-author of the report Health and Homelessness in Scotland, said: "Men aged 36-40 who have been homeless are 20 times more likely to die than the most well off."

Figures show that the health impact of homelessness begins up to two years before someone first registers as homeless, he added.