£1m is being invested to help people in West Yorkshire stay warm this winter
A health and care partnership which covers West Yorkshire is investing £1m to help keep people warm over winter.
The impact of cold homes is estimated to cost the NHS £2bn every year in England and Wales, with people needing extra care from their GP and hospitals for illnesses such as heart attacks and stroke, respiratory illness, falls, hypothermia and influenza.
For example, hospital admissions for COPD are four times more likely in winter months.
The West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership (WY HCP) says that whilst the greatest impact of winter deaths is in the elderly, it happens across all ages, with people living in poorer communities more likely to be affected in relation to mental health and wellbeing and asthma and bronchitis in children.
The funding it has made available will support affordable warmth by increasing low-income households’ energy efficiency rating, giving advice on reducing their energy bills, and helping people access additional support they are entitled to.
The Partnership of NHS, local councils, housing associations and the voluntary community social enterprise sector is working across Bradford district and Craven, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, and Wakefield. The funding aims to benefit people, through a boost to existing projects such as home insulation, boiler repairs, financial savings and benefits advice and heating grants, with the aim of reducing health risks associated with poor housing and cold homes.
Rob Webster, CEO-Designate for WY HCP said: ‘Once again our partnership is investing in prevention, this time to support people who will experience fuel poverty, and struggle to keep warm. We have made a pledge that no one living across West Yorkshire should suffer due to fuel poverty. This funding will help our efforts, and benefit thousands of people who are eligible for support, as well as those at increased risk of hospitalisation during winter because of their fuel circumstances’.
Dr Sohail Abbas, a Bradford GP and WY HCP Chair of the Health Inequalities Network said:
‘Many people in West Yorkshire are spending a disproportionate amount of their income on energy bills. The impact of winter and cold homes on people health is well known and the pandemic has seen many families who could previously afford fuel now struggling, with many not knowing about the different benefits and grants available to help. We need to go upstream and tackle the causes of ill health and do all we can together to support our population’.
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