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09/05/2014

NHS ‘could save £56m’ through poor housing improvements

Words: Helen Bird
Poor housing

Making improvements to London’s poor housing could save the NHS around £56m per year in treatment costs, according to the findings of a new study.

The research by BRE Trust says that reducing health and safety hazards in such homes could reduce cases of cardiovascular disease and falls around the home.
 
It shows that 15 per cent of households in the capital can be classified as living in ‘poor’ housing.
 
The findings also suggest that, while there has been significant progress in improving the energy efficiency of housing stock, a high number of households are likely to experience fuel poverty and overcrowding as a result of increasingly high housing costs in London.
 
BRE housing and energy director Simon Nicol said that the estimated £56m NHS savings could rise above £140m “if other costs relating to living in poor housing, such as lack of educational attainment, lost work days and additional energy and insurance costs are taken into account”.
 
The research found that there is proportionately less poor housing in London than in the rest of England.
 
This is thought to be due to the capital’s higher proportion of purpose-built flats that tend to be newer, more energy-efficient and in better repair than other types of home across the UK.
 
But conditions between and within London boroughs vary considerably, the findings show, with parts of the city being perceived as significantly worse than the national and London average.
 
The information gleaned from BRE Trust’s research is helping local authorities to justify expenditure on housing refurbishment and identify cost-effective improvements for vulnerable people in substandard housing.

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