The first NHS-backed three-way joint investment agreement with a group of social landlords to tackle fuel poverty has saved the health service tens of thousands of pounds, initial analysis suggests.

Groundbreaking landlord scheme saves thousands for NHS

Oldham Council, Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Oldham Housing Investment Partnership, a group of 10 social landlords, co-invested in the ‘warm homes Oldham’ programme, which started in August 2013.

The initiative has helped 1,000 people and is was one of the first examples of the NHS supporting retrofit schemes in order to reduce the cost of health care and social services.

In a survey of nearly 800 people who took part in the scheme, it was revealed that emergency hospital admissions had gone down by 32% in the first nine months of the programme – with an estimated saving of almost £40,000 to the CCG. The scheme is likely to raise hopes that the housing sector will in future have a greater role to play in reducing the cost of health.

The results, seen exclusively by Inside Housing, also showed that accident and emergency attendances dropped 2%. In addition, a sample of five individuals who had their GP and prescription use analysed revealed total visits to GP appointments dropped 8%.

Further analysis of the scheme showed 48 out of 50 of those who self-reported as being at ‘high risk’ of mental illness moved to ‘low risk’, following the initiative.

Oldham CCG invested £45,000, the council invested £77,500, and housing providers invested the remaining £77,500.

The project used energy company obligation (ECO) funding to pay for the works.

A spokesperson for the initiative said: ‘The project… provides a template that other local authorities could adopt, with additional health benefits and wellbeing savings to public purse.’

Sunderland landlord Gentoo Group last month said its scheme to install boilers prescribed by GPs had resulted in a 28% reduction in GP appointments and a 33% reduction in outpatient appointments.

Brendan Sarsfield, chief executive of Family Mosaic and chair of the G15 group of associations in London, described the scheme as ‘great’ but warned that such schemes are not being ‘valued by the government or the health sector.’

Source: Inside Housing