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NHF: STPs must collaborate with housing associations to ensure success

Sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) will fail if they do not engage with key organisations like housing associations and work to improve the quality of patient’s homes, the boss of a leading housing organisation has warned.

Writing exclusively for NHE, David Orr, the chief executive of the National Housing Federation (NHF), stated that since being formed only a handful of the STP plans has “meaningfully engaged” with housing associations.

He also argued that poor-quality housing was a “significant part” of the problem for the NHS, as cold, uncomfortable homes cost the health service between £1.4bn and £2bn each year.

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

“Equally, they will fail to achieve their vision if they omit working with potential key partners, such as housing organisations

“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,” he added.

“They are not-for-profit housing providers offering affordable homes with a wide-ranging offer tailored to local populations.”

While Orr emphasised that STPs were the right way forward for creating new commissioning pathways and integrating health and care services, he explained that engagement with housing associations would provide an opportunity to transform healthcare systems from the bottom up.

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

The news comes after NHS England called on developers to put healthy living at the heart of future homebuilding through its Healthy New Towns schemes.


Clued-Up   19/01/2018 at 10:37

I agree with Orr's basic premise - that decent, warm, secure, affordable homes promote health - but the NHS STP project CAN'T be a partner or an enabler in improving the quality and availability of the housing stock. The current dysfunctional inability of NHS STPs to work with ANY of their supposed partners - the hospitals, community healthcare services, local authorities and private sector social care providers - would only be intensified if the project tried to develop new partnership schemes.

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