New NHS guidelines by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) were announced yesterday [Thursday 5th March] to help combat the suffering of vulnerable people living in dangerously cold homes.
Neil Schofield, our head of external and governmental affairs, attended the launch as a representative of the UK heating industry and a member of the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council (HHIC).
The guidelines aim to address the huge increase in deaths and illness in the winter months, particularly amongst more vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, the very young and those unable to afford to pay for heating. Unfortunately the UK tends to have higher winter mortality figures than countries that are a lot colder, due to having the second-worst housing stock in Europe and high fuel bills.
The new guidelines recommend that heating, plumbing and electricity professionals who visit people in-home, work with health and social care professionals to guide those they deem at-risk to a single-point-of-contact system for help to make their home warmer and safeguard their health.
Following the announcement Neil commented;
“By encouraging non-health professionals who are likely to make home visits for work purposes to play a role in identifying this problem, it is hoped that the elderly, young children and those on low incomes can be better protected when temperatures drop.
“With over 100,000 heating and plumbing engineers in Britain making an estimated 8m home visits every year, the heating industry is in the perfect position to help identify those exposed to the effects of fuel poverty.”
“As well as being able to spot the early warning signs, installers have the know-how to improve the situation in the most energy and cost-efficient ways, so it makes sense to suggest that thinking about the health effects of cold homes is their business too.”
Solutions currently available include heating improvement programmes and grants and free loft insulation as well as advice on how to choose the most suitable fuel tariff.
NICE believe that used properly, this system could save lives, prevent illness and decrease the associated costs to the NHS which are estimated at £1.3 billion each year.
To find out more about the guidelines, please visit the NICE website https://www.nice.org.uk/
For more information on Worcester, Bosch Group head to our website http://worcester-bosch.co.uk/