Report from Chris Hall
BRE invited leaders from local authorities and private sector housing, environmental health, public health and the NHS to discuss challenges and priorities and to share their experiences on how to improve community health through better housing and optimising the NHS estate.
The outcome was an explosion of conversations covering engagement, integrating services, joined up systems and numerous exemplars of good practice from within the NHS, housing and social care system from which we could all learn.
Dr David Pencheon OBE, Director, SDU, kicked off by setting out compelling reasons why the NHS has to change its way to keep people healthy rather than treating them when they are ill. Also of the need for holistic care system approaches which provide better integration at system levels and create a more healthy society and sustainable future. He said it starts with a good home that is safe and warm which allows engagement with family, friends and community with access to good public services.
He summed up by saying fuel poverty interventions are one of the best examples of the virtuous circle, creating jobs, making homes warmer so reducing fuel bills, reducing NHS admissions – win, win, win!
Carl Petrokofsky PHE, echoed David’s message that a decent home is central to maintaining good health. Adding, ‘A good home helps people maintain their independence, health and wellbeing and helps prevent ill health and disease’. He also highlighted, that in 2012, 22% of England’s housing stock failed to meet decent standards with a cost to the NHS £2.6bn PA. He gave a rallying cry for a much needed re-evaluation of how current systems address austerity and welfare reform, rising homelessness, an ageing population, lack of affordable housing and overcrowding. And he highlighted PHE’s ‘homes’ programme will help improve poor housing.
Speaker after speaker then set out how they had started to address some of these issues and the need to share information so that these exemplars could influence others and ultimately policy makers…..
Cliff Duff, Durham County Council, is working towards reducing hospital emergency admissions, through their Warm and Healthy Homes Project. And Warm Up North, collaboration between the Council and British Gas.
Louisa Moss, Thurrock District Council, used intelligence on housing condition, and the findings from a Health Impact Assessment, by BRE, to underpin the business case to invest in a housing and health intervention through a Well Homes Programme and delivering cultural changes.
David Arkle, Amber Valley Council, gave an impassioned plea that it didn’t matter how much evidence you have, if you don’t shout about it, nothing will happen, so take every opportunity to knock on health’s door. He also stressed that under the integrated care agenda, health were missing out on the largest part of the population by only focusing on social care. Therefore, there is much more to be done.
Another fantastic example of implementation was presented by David Law, CEO and Diane Brent Hertfordshire Community Trust, who talked about their work as community service providers on helping to keep people healthy and independent, reducing isolation, facilitate community interaction, and provide space for flexible housing.
Andy Deacon, Global Action Plan, showed how ‘Operation TLC’ delivered carbon savings and improved patient comfort.
Trevor Payne, Bart’s Healthcare partnered with British Gas to deliver a fuel poverty campaign called “living warm living well”. This includes training district nurses to recognise fuel poverty and training GPs.
David Houghton Alder Hey Children’s Hospital showed how this capital development was driven by stakeholder engagement and consultation to create much wider community health benefits
In summary this is the beginning of a journey which will transform peoples’ health and well-being throughout their lives.
A fuller account of Healthy Places for People will be included in January edition of buildingforchange and the agenda for the conference can be found here http://www.bre.co.uk/eventdetails.jsp?id=8331.
Health Sector Lead
For and on behalf of BRE Global
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