Care & Repair announces new Warm Homes Prescription scheme

Older People Housing Champion, Care & Repair Cymru has today announced a new scheme being delivered in Wales this winter. 

The Warm Homes on Prescription scheme, funded by £250,000 from Welsh Government, will benefit people who have health conditions which are caused or made worse by living in cold housing. People living in Bridgend, Merthyr, RCT, Gwynedd, Ynys Mon, Conwy and Denbighshire will initially benefit and Care & Repair will be working with hospitals, GPs, and other health professionals to identify those people most in need of warmer homes to improve their health. 

The scheme will aim to demonstrate that cold, poorly insulated housing can have a direct bearing on people being admitted to hospital, or constantly needing to see their GP due to illnesses brought on, or made worse by cold. 

The announcement comes just days after official figures revealed that there were 1,800 excess winter deaths in Wales in 2015/16, and that Wales had 17% more winter deaths than other months. The announcement, by the Office of National Statistics, also indicates that older people over the age of 65 are disproportionately affected by excess winter mortality, and that some of the main underlying causes are circulatory disease, respiratory disease, and dementia and Alzheimers disease. 

Talking about the new scheme, Chris Jones, Chief Executive of Care & Repair Cymru, said:

“We are delighted with the Warm Homes Prescription scheme, and hope to improve the health and well-being of many vulnerable older people, and younger children suffering with asthma this winter. The scheme will help us repair and replace old or broken boilers, insulate and draft-proof homes. 

In effect, GPs and other health professionals will effectively be prescribing a warm home as treatment for patients whose health is affected by the cold. We firmly believe this will not only improve comfort and quality of life, but also reduce illness and even premature death. In our view, the scheme can also help reduce demand on our overstretched health and care system, especially during the winter pressure period.” 

Communities and Children Secretary Carl Sargeant said: “A warm, secure home plays a vitally important role in improving the health of residents, particularly those who are elderly and vulnerable. Not only will this reduce the burden on other services such as the NHS or social care, it will also improve quality of life for people and ensure they can maintain their independence and confidence. I am delighted to be working with Care & Repair Cymru on such a forward thinking project.”