Funding has been approved by Derbyshire County Council to support older and vulnerable people most at risk of ill health from living in cold and damp conditions.
The move is part of the council’s public health commitment to tackling fuel poverty, reducing the number of deaths due to cold weather and impacting on health care costs.
Around 59,295 Derbyshire households live in fuel poverty and between last December and March there were an estimated 426 ‘excess’ winter deaths in the county due to an increase in heart attacks and strokes, respiratory disease, flu, falls and injuries.
The council is investing £376,000 over two years to make sure the most vulnerable benefit by identifying those who live in the least energy efficient homes, are on low incomes and have long-term conditions associated with excess winter deaths.
They will be contacted by a health professional and referred to their borough or district council who will provide practical or financial support including boiler installation and insulation.
This will include removing barriers some people may face such as the need for a loft clearance before insulation is fitted or replacing old pipework before a new boiler is installed.
Derbyshire County Council cabinet member for health and communities Coun Dave Allen said: “The main aim of our investment is to increase the number of vulnerable households getting access to affordable warmth and energy efficiency support and specifically targeting those people who need it the most.”
“Evidence shows residents are more likely to take notice of advice about their wellbeing if they hear it from a health professional and it is not acceptable for those most in need to rely on a chance marketing call inviting them to apply for help.”
“Each person who suffers ill health and dies as a result of conditions made worse by fuel poverty has on average 100 GP consultations and eight hospital admissions so as well as improving their quality of life this programme could also have a significant impact on health service costs.”