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Oldham study shows warm homes lead to better health and NHS savings

This scheme, now entering its fifth year, offers comprehensive advice and support to local residents who are struggling to pay their bills and heat their homes.

Funding comes from Oldham Council, Oldham CCG and Oldham Housing and investment partnership (OHIP), and the CRESR study justifies this investment with evidence of significant improvements in general health and wellbeing, life satisfaction, and condition of homes. 

After analysing data from hundreds of households supported through the scheme, and conducting wide ranging interviews, researchers found that:

  • 75% of participants moved out of fuel poverty
  • 60% of respondents with a physical health problem felt that the initiative had a positive impact on their health
  • 80% of people reported that the project had a positive impact on their general health and wellbeing
  • Almost all (48 out of 50) of those who self-reported as being at 'high risk' of mental illness on completion of the General Health Questionnaire moved to 'low risk' following the initiative
  • 96% of respondents agreed that their home was easier to heat as a result of their involvement in the project; and 84 per cent agreed that they now spend less on their heating.

The impact of this on NHS budgets was estimated at £45,000 per year thanks to reduced GP and hospital visits, counselling and medication.

The study also estimated an increase in GDP of £215,000 due to higher employment rates and reductions in sickness absence, along with £137,000 of savings to exchequer due to reductions in benefit claims.

A full version of the report can be found at the Sheffield Hallam University website.

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