Preventing illness by tackling cold homes

Our work to put new NICE guidance into action as part of Bristol 2015

23 February 2015

Living in a cold home is bad for your health – so preventing cold homes can prevent illness. That’s hardly news, but its powerful logic has so far been largely overlooked by the health sector, resulting in more cold-related illnesses and higher demand on the health service.

Now a new CSE project, funded as part of Bristol 2015 European Green Capital, is setting out to change this for good by helping the city to implement new guidance from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE), due to be published on 5 March.

You can read the project profile here.

In line with the draft guidance published for consultation last year, the new NICE guidance is expected to highlight the significant and detrimental impacts of cold homes on physical and mental health and the demands placed on the health service as a result. To address this, the draft guidance calls for a new strategic approach at local level from the health sector and the establishment of local referral services for tackling cold homes. These services should bring together health and social care professionals, advice and support agencies, voluntary and community groups, as well as the providers of insulation and heating schemes. CSE’s Chief Executive, Simon Roberts, was a topic expert on the NICE Public Health Advisory Committee which has drawn up the guidance.

CSE will orchestrate the implementation of the NICE guidance in Bristol and, in doing so, create a national exemplar for delivering the recommendations of this important new guidance. The initiative is called PITCH  Preventing Illness by Tackling Cold Homes in Bristol – a strategic project for Bristol 2015 European Green Capital.

The PITCH project will work to make all relevant departments of the health service in Bristol aware of the new NICE guidance on cold homes, support the health service in integrating the guidance within existing practice and systems, and work with support organisations across the city to establish an integrated and systematic Action for Patients in Cold Homes referral service – a single point of contact for the health service to refer patients who need support in securing affordable warmth.

The new NICE guidance provides a great opportunity for Bristol to put in place an approach that can deliver warmer healthier homes for Bristol’s most vulnerable people while reducing the burden on the local health service of preventable cold-related ill-health” says Phillip Morris, Senior Development Manager and lead on the PITCH project.

CSE has more than 30 years of experience tackling the misery of cold homes. We have developed resources and training to enable others to recognise, understand and tackle cases of fuel poverty, including our Coping with Cold film series, and training for front line staff working with vulnerable people.

Image: 3D shoot, Flickr, repoduced under a Creative Commons license.

Stay up to date with our work - sign up for our fortnightly newsletter