Poor Housing costs the NHS £95million per year

A report published today (20 June 2019) in partnership between Public Health Wales, Community Housing Cymru and the Building Research Establishment highlights the strong links between good quality housing and good health, and conversely the negative impacts and costs to the NHS of poor housing.

It says that 18 per cent of homes in Wales pose an unacceptable risk to health, and poor housing costs Welsh society over £1 billion every year.

Among its recommendations, the report urges action to address causes of ill health associated with poor housing such as cold, damp, and fall hazards.

The report says that improving homes could lead to 39 per cent fewer hospital admissions for circulatory and respiratory illness, and every £1 spent improving warmth for vulnerable households could result in a £4 return on investment. It also highlights the importance of adapting homes and providing services that reduce falls for older and disabled people, and that such services provide value for money and could generate £7.50 savings for Health and Social Care for every £1 spent.

Commenting on the report, Chris Jones, CEO of Care & Repair Cymru says “Care & Repair warmly welcomes this report. It highlights very well the things we know from providing our services to over 30,000 older people living in poor housing, every year. Poor housing has strong links with poor health, admissions to hospital, delayed hospital discharges, GP visits, and often leads to older people prematurely needing residential care. We work across all communities in Wales, in hospitals, with GP practices, and with a variety of Health and Social Care professionals, and in partnership with Welsh Government, local government, third sector and many others to provide services that improve housing for older people”.

“Warm, safe, suitably adapted housing in good repair undoubtedly helps improve the health and well-being of older people and keeps them out of places they don’t want to be such as hospitals and care homes. It also makes perfect sense for the public purse and contributes significantly to better health and care services by reducing demand across stretched parts of our public services, improving patient flow, and saving bed days in hospitals.”

“But we need to do more. Investment in housing and good housing services clearly makes so much sense for health and well-being of citizens, and the challenge for government and statutory bodies is to scale up and provide more of proven, preventative services that reduce costs and demand downstream”

The report Making a Difference to Health and Housing: A Case for Investment can be found at: https://bit.ly/2L2AqcX