Expanding support services for NHS patients across Wiltshire

Too many people leave hospital and return to homes that are unhealthily damp and cold, with broken or inadequate heating systems. This puts their health at risk and in many cases means they end up back in hospital - an outcome neither they nor the NHS wants.

Following the huge success of his placement at Swindon's Great Western Hospital (GWH) earlier this year, CSE’s Warm and Safe Wiltshire energy advisor, Elliot Clark, will be returning to his one-day-a-week post this September.

Elliot will continue to work with ward managers, discharge nurses, occupational therapists and social care services to offer advice and ensure that, following their stay, patients aren't going home to cold houses or to poor heating systems.

The GWH staff praised the benefits of having someone in-house to refer patients to. Daniel, a nurse in the Integrated Discharge Service, said:

Before Elliot arrived, patients would tell me their heating was broken or they couldn’t manage their bills, and I’d have nowhere to direct them. Having that point of contact on the ward is brilliant, I know I can reel off a list of patients and Elliot will find them the help they need – whether it’s signing them up to the Priority Services Register, or getting them an oil filled radiator. It’s been fantastic to have this service to tap in to and ensure there’s continued support for my patients.

Dan talks more about the benefits of the partnership in this video.

In fact, the collaboration with GWH was so effective that Wiltshire Council's Public Health team have provided funding for Elliot to be posted in Salisbury District Hospital for 2 days a week this winter, from September to March.

Elliot will now be able to support even more patients across Wiltshire: providing energy advice, signing them up for the priority services register with Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, Wessex Water and their energy supplier, helping with advice on insulation, heating and draft proofing, and for those most critically in need, providing emergency oil-filled radiators.

The health risks associated with cold homes is recognised by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) who published guidance on this which CSE was involved in developing, and which recommends that the health service should engage with efforts to make homes less cold and less damp.

The post at Great Western Hospital is funded by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks and the post at Salisbury District Hospital is funded by Wiltshire Council's Public Health team.

Warm and Safe Wiltshire is an energy advice project funded by Swindon Borough Council and Wiltshire Council and managed by CSE.

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