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CCGs insulate homes and pay off debts to keep patients warm

CCGs are investing in home insulation and paying off patient debts in an effort to improve the health of their local populations, a new report reveals.

NHS Oldham CCG will spend £200k this winter on providing new boilers and insulation to 1,000 homes and ‘helping with debt reduction’ so that local people can keep warm.

It estimates that it will save £300k a year in reduced hospital admissions and social costs.

The scheme - a joint initiative with Oldham Council - was launched in August and has seen 240 homes given free heating upgrades, and 47external solid wall insulation fitted.

The move is highlighted in a report from NHS Clinical Commissioners published today, which looks at innovative approaches in the first year of CCGs being operational.

Clinical director for respiratory diseases Kathryn Taylor told the report authors: ‘We know that there are lots of frail or vulnerable people who cannot afford to heat their homes and they are living in damp housing with one room heated and the rest of the house freezing cold.

‘The CCG has a vested interest in supporting this project, given that fuel poverty can and does have a huge impact on people’s health - especially if they are vulnerable, have a long-term condition or a disability.’

Other CCG initiatives highlighted in the report included NHS City and Hackney CCG, which has commissioned a service for GPs and mental health workers to support people recovering from mental health issues, and NHS Bassetlaw CCG, where GPs and hospital doctors have developed a seven-day consultant service.

NHS Clinical Commissioners co-chair Dr Steve Kell said: ‘This is real change and its happening right now. Putting clinicians in the driving seat has been the fundamental shift that was needed. It happened less than a year ago and yet already the proof is right here in front of us. Not just talk but real examples and real data showing that people’s lives are changing for the better. These case studies say it all.’

Readers' comments (3)

  • What a waste of Taxpayers money. This is the job of local government not healthcare. What services are they cutting to fund this?

    Answer:

    Cataract surgery - Oldham has a very restrictive policy for which it has received national criticism

    One local hospital is having to downgrade its emergency department, another is slashing 1000 staff.

    Meanwhile the CCG is playing Dragons Den and pouring money down the drain. There is no hope for us all.

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  • It's not quite that straightforward though. I agree that this is an absurd situation but I suspect that in some cases, it might save the CCG money. Admissions are SO expensive, that I suspect that even if insulating a handful of homes prevents one admission, there will be a net benefit to the CCG.

    But you are right, this is using the healthcare budget to bail out social care.

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  • Cold damp homes are a prime cause of asthma & worsening asthma. In extreme cases this sounds like a good investment in preventative care.

    Those funding should also be aware that heating and sealing up cold buildings with insulation to prevent heat loss is only part of the problem and will generate more problems if moisture isn't vented properly. Heat saving mechanical ventilation completes the picture for best solution for prevantative care and should be considered in these homes.

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