This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Read the latest issue online

A faulty production line

Fire services to do health visits under NHS England deal

NHS England has signed a deal with Fire and Rescue Services to conduct health checks on vulnerable people in their homes.

The deal has come as NHS England has identified that there are ‘common risk factors between health and fire services which increase demand such as multi-morbidity, cognitive impairment, smoking, drugs, alcohol, physical inactivity, obesity, loneliness and cold homes’.

It said fire services are already conducting 670,000 home safety checks yearly and that these were ‘based on risk factors the NHS would recognise’.

Many visits ‘already include some health interventions, like a hearing test to check the fire alarm can be heard, to assessing risk of falls and trips and fitting equipment’, it said.

NHS England’s deputy director for long term conditions Jacquie White said in a blog on the NHS England website that by switching to ‘preventing rather than just reacting to’ fires 15 years ago when it realised that the ‘increasing number of fires made chasing demand the wrong strategy’, the FRS has managed to cut demand for firefighting by 50% - saying this was something the NHS would ‘wish to emulate’.

In wide-ranging new public health guidance released last year, NICE said GP practices should check at least once a year whether their elderly or vulnerable patients are at risk from living in a cold home, and where needed refer them for help.


Readers' comments (7)

  • "Someone might be in a jam, so Hurry, Hurry Fireman Sam! He's always on the scene, Fireman Sam, and his engines bright and clean" (Just make sure you've paid your MDU, Sam, or Mrs Goggins will cut your throat when you are an hour late with her Atorvastatin prescription).

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The crisis in recruiting ANY qualified primary care health professionals is getting so acute they'll be recruiting Pizza Hut delivery drivers to be doing NHS health checks next!! After all they already have a heads up on the likely cardiovascular risk profile of the average punter (ere..sorry..patient). Double meat supreme, extra cheese with chocolate gateau and bottle or 2 of wine for me. Yippeee!!

    DGPP (3yrs)

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Signing deals is an art in which NHSE specilaizes. Squandering funds is their greatest skill.
    The next deal should be with water defence services as patients are a a higher risk of drowning from floods and then with paratroopers as those on benefits and deprived living in high rise council estates are prone to falls.
    It gets more and more wierd everyday. Must confess though, NHSE has honed it skills so well that it can siphon away money from the scarce NHS resources under any pretext.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • So the GP has to check their heating and the fire service has to check their health...

    Excellent plan, nothing peculiar about that at all.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Perhaps someone at NHSE has misunderstood euphemism. "Waterworks" often refers to urinary problems, not actual plumbing. Problems "downstairs", again not for the builder. "The painters are in" ...gynae, not decorators. Problems "round the back", again, more colorectal than the back alley way needing a tidy. So perhaps they took these statements literally, and we are to check the back alley from problems with the plumbing whilst the fireman has a shufty downstairs and rescues a trapped pussy...or something.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Hang the fire brigade naked upside down

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • So will those fire services already being commissioned by local authorities for this type of work from the public health budget, now be being paid twice? Did NHSE check with PHE and LGA what is already in place in localities? Is this where the LA public health grant cut is being redirected?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say