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GPs refer patients for new boilers and home improvement grants

GPs can refer patients with cardiovascular or respiratory conditions for a grant to make home energy efficiency improvements under a scheme in the south of England.

Practices and other health professionals in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire have been asked to try to identify patients most at risk, assess if they are eligible and then make referrals so that patients receive energy advice and/or grants for home improvements.

The National Energy Foundation (NEF) is working with a number of local authorities – including NHS Oxfordshire CCG and NHS Buckinghamshire CCG – across the region to provide home energy checks and grants of up to £2,500 for energy-efficiency improvements where someone’s health is being adversely affected by living in a cold or damp home.

The funding for the scheme, including the grants, is being provided by the British Gas Energy Trust.

The project kicked off in January and runs for the entire 2016 calendar year

NEF project manager Alexandra Steeland told Pulse that so far about 75% of referrals made so far have come from GPs, which have been prompted by patient comments about damp or cold living conditions or the GP asking patients about their home if they have recurring respiratory illnesses, for example.

She added: ‘The money could be used for boilers, insulation, damp work or for smaller projects like heating controls, draught-proofing, ventilation, or putting in LED lights.’

Ms Steeland says she hopes to extend the project if further funding is secured.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt suggested in December 2014 that GPs could prescribe lunch clubs and damp treatment to their patients as part of a more ‘holistic’ approach to commissioning.

Please note, this article was changed at 17:30 on 2 March 2016 to say Buckinghamshire, not Bedfordshire