Comment

24.01.18

Digging the foundations for better population health

Source: NHE Jan/Feb 18

Unstable homes cost the NHS billions, whilst good housing schemes can relieve pressure from health services. It’s time health and housing started talking, says David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation.

Housing-related costs to the NHS are staggering. Cold homes, poor-quality housing and insecure tenure cost the NHS in England between £1.4bn and £2bn each year. These figures don’t even factor in the housing-related costs of poor mental health, which costs England at least £105bn overall each year.

Poor-quality housing is a significant part of the problem, whilst research shows that good-quality, affordable, warm and stable housing improves the quality and length of people’s lives.

Housing is therefore a key part of the puzzle of relieving pressure on the NHS as another winter crisis dominates the headlines.

In December 2015, NHS England launched sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs), which are ‘place-based plans’ designed to look at the future of health and care services in their area. Their aim is to shift delivery away from acute to community-based care. They provide an opportunity to look beyond the short term and take a longer-term view, and they will have to work in collaboration with local partners to tackle the causes of poor health and spiralling health spend at their root.

Meaningful collaborations

These fundamental principles behind the STPs are spot on. However, it is proving incredibly challenging to put these ideas into practice.

The STPs – in their current form and as they evolve in accountable care systems (ACSs) – won’t succeed if they are driven by an approach that looks only to the immediate future and seeks only to alleviate financial pressures.

Equally, they will fail to achieve their vision if they omit working with potential key partners, such as housing organisations. A recent review of the 44 STPs by Care & Repair England found that only a few of them meaningfully feature housing. Without involving key partners such as housing organisations, they have no chance of achieving the ambitious vision, or savings, that the NHS is aiming for.

Of all providers in the housing sector, housing associations are ideally placed to help relieve pressures on the NHS, and are ready and willing to be involved. They are not-for-profit housing providers offering affordable homes with a wide-ranging offer tailored to local populations. Housing associations provide 2.8 million homes for more than 5 million people who typically have greater social or health needs than the general population. Those homes are more likely to be of a ‘decent standard’ than in any other housing sector.

Research shows that housing association homes promote good health: they are more energy-efficient, in a better state of repair than any other rented tenure, and on a par with owner-occupied homes. They are significantly more accessible to wheelchair users than any other tenure. They are also less likely to be located in poor-quality neighbourhoods than private rented and local authority homes.

iStock-622800884

Developing schemes in the community

Housing associations across the country have developed many schemes that benefit the health of both their own residents and the wider community. They are trusted brands operating ‘hospital to home’ initiatives and extra care schemes. Staff visit residents’ homes and can monitor people’s health and convey health messages. They often have expertise in delivering to specific population groups, such as older people or people with learning disabilities.

Unlike the NHS and local authorities, housing associations have financial flexibility, can plan long-term and access additional funds.

Housing associations should be regarded as key health delivery partners, with both an immediate and preventative offer to save money and improve health outcomes for people.

This is a critical moment for STPs and the NHS, with a chance to be truly transformational by working collaboratively. Although pending detail, the newly announced Department of Health & Social Care is promising. If health and social care are jointly funded, it could provide a system sympathetic to integration and the STP goals.

Changing healthcare from the bottom up

STPs and ACSs provide a vehicle for meaningful partnerships to ingrain new commissioning pathways, a better working culture and delivery systems and services to improve health outcomes.

Housing associations can and must be part of better health pathways and help build a movement to change healthcare from the bottom up. The opportunity to forge meaningful partnerships between health and housing cannot be missed.

Strategically including housing in the STPs is only the first step in creating truly collaborative system change. But starting a conversation with housing partners now will help revive the STPs, trailblaze integration, save money and – ultimately – radically improve the health of the nation.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION
W: www.housing.org.uk

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

Minister for Care publishes adult social winter plan

21/09/2020Minister for Care publishes adult social winter plan

The Minister for Care, Helen Whatley, has today (21st Sept) published a letter to local authorities in relation to the adult social care winter p... more >
Improving the quality of end of life care through better planning, support

21/09/2020Improving the quality of end of life care through better planning, support

Judith Richardson, Acting Director for Health and Social Care, NICE Around half a million people die in England each year. With an ageing po... more >
Health services vital in rebuilding local economies after Covid-19

21/09/2020Health services vital in rebuilding local economies after Covid-19

Michael Wood, Head of Health Economic Partnerships, NHS Confederation It’s impossible to switch on the news without hearing about how ... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

Improving the quality of end of life care through better planning, support

21/09/2020Improving the quality of end of life care through better planning, support

Judith Richardson, Acting Director for Health and Social Care, NICE Around half a million people die in England each year. With an ageing population, the annual number of deaths is projected to increase. In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to an increase in the excess death rate. It is important that we identify effective, supportive, and palliative care needs throughout the last phase of life to ensure that people live well unti... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

interviews

Organ Donation Week: Having the conversation

11/09/2020Organ Donation Week: Having the conversation

As part of Organ Donation Week, NHE’s Matt Roberts spoke with our Managing Director Roy Rowlands about the importance of raising aware... more >
Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

24/10/2019Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

Today, speaking at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) annual conference, Matt Hancock highlighted what he believes to be the three... more >
NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

17/09/2019NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

Over 20 years ago, a Teesside hospital cleaner put down her mop and took steps towards her midwifery dreams. Lisa Payne has been delivering ... more >
How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us th... more > more last word articles >

editor's comment

26/06/2020Adapting and Innovating

Matt Roberts, National Health Executive Editorial Lead. NHE May/June 2020 Edition We’ve been through so much as a health sector and a society in recent months with coronavirus and nothing can take away from the loss and difficulties that we’ve faced but it vital we also don’t disregard the amazing efforts we’v... read more >

health service focus

‘We are the NHS’: NHS England publish newest People Plan

30/07/2020‘We are the NHS’: NHS England publish newest People Plan

NHS England has published its People Plan for... more >
How NHS Property Services adapted to a new way of working

01/07/2020How NHS Property Services adapted to a new way of working

From May/June 2020 edition Trish Stephen... more >