NHS to work with councils to improve ‘housing health’

In a bid to save money and reduce hospital visits, the NHS is to work alongside councils to improve health through better housing.

A new report, jointly published by the King’s Fund and the National Housing Federation claims that the cost of poor housing to the NHS is £1.4 billion per year, with cold and poor housing also contributing towards chronic diseases like lung and heart diseases, as well as poor mental health.

Housing and health also reports that reducing excess cold in homes to an acceptable level would save the NHS around £848 million a year, while reducing all falls in the home could save it £435 million.

Next Steps on The NHS’ Five Year Forward View is clear that addressing this issue can only be successfully achieved if the NHS and local government worked closely together to improve health and make best use of available funding.

Home ‘MOTs’, helplines for those who suffer falls, stairlifts and heating systems are some of the schemes being implemented as part of the NHS’s Integrated Care Systems (ICS).

Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, said: “Well designed homes that are warm and hazard free reduce the risk of accidents and falls as well as major cardiovascular and respiratory hospitalisations. They are a key element of a healthy childhood and an independent old age. That’s why the NHS is stepping up to work with our council, voluntary sector and housing colleagues who can make a huge difference to the lives of millions of our fellow citizens.”