New NHS guidelines announced

New NHS guidelines announced

Neil Schofield, Head of External and Governmental Affairs at Worcester, Bosch Group attended the launch of new NHS guidelines announced by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) as a representative of the UK heating industry and a member of the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council (HHIC). He comments:

“The announcement of new NHS guidelines by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (Nice) that suggest a ‘hidden army of non-health professionals’ could help identify vulnerable people at risk of illness as a result of living in dangerously cold homes, makes perfect sense.

“Given that, on average, there are around 24,000 more deaths in the UK between December and March compared with the rest of the year, the link between lack of heating and people suffering ill health is a huge issue that needs addressing.

“By encouraging non-health professionals who are likely to make home visits for work purposes to play a role in identifying this problem, it is hoped that the elderly, young children and those on low incomes can be better protected when temperatures drop.

“With over 100,000 heating and plumbing engineers in Britain making an estimated 8 million home visits every year, the heating industry is in the perfect position to help identify those exposed to the effects of fuel poverty. In fact, I would go as far as to say it’s a no brainer.

“During the course of making calls to service boilers or fix dripping taps, installers can recognise a cold, vulnerable person who might be living in one room or desperately trying to heat their whole home from an electric or gas fire.

“As well as being able to spot the early warning signs, installers have the know-how to improve the situation in the most energy and cost-efficient ways, so it makes sense to suggest that thinking about the health effects of cold homes is their business too.

“While today’s announcement is just the first step toward implementing the new guidelines, let’s hope that local health and well-being authorities are quick to respond by establishing single points of contact so that cases of concern can be reported quickly and preventative action taken to save lives and reduce the cost to the NHS.”

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