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21.10.15

PHE launches resource linking housing and public health to improve health and social care

Resources commissioned by Public Health England (PHE) and developed by national partners have been launched today (21 October) to help integrate housing, public health, environmental health and social care.

They will help professionals in these sectors and in local authorities work together in reducing the impact of poor housing and homelessness on physical and mental health and wellbeing, as well as the impact on healthcare and social care services.

The resources are split in three parts:

  1. A health and housing resource developed by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) based on extensive literature review and informed by input from practitioners. It provides evidence, case studies and guidance to enhance the local grasp on the relationship between home environment and health.
  2. A suite of training resources, a study on the impact of the Housing Workforce on Health Outcomes, and case studies, all developed by Sitra – the national membership organisation for housing with health, care and support. It will enable housing providers to further develop their staff to become part of the wider public health workforce, with resources helping them spark conversations with their customers about their health within topics such as smoking, drinking, dementia and mental health.
  3. Standards and supporting guidance to develop the housing sector’s ability to generate evidence of what works best in improving health outcomes. It is led by HACT, a housing solutions agency, and includes a public consultation on the standards. Final standards are expected to be published later this year.

They are expected to help local leaders develop a housing and health profile for their areas, which can be used to inform decision-making – such as joint strategic needs assessments or targeting resources and policy initiatives.

Graham Jukes OBE, CIEH chief executive, said: “Good quality housing is fundamental to a health and enjoyable life and both the CIEH and PHE want the online resource to inform local discussions about the options to address housing issues as a means to improving health and wellbeing, and ultimately reduce health inequalities.”

The online resources are being launched today at a PHE and King’s Fund event on bringing housing and public health together to improve health.

Prof Kevin Fenton, national director of health and wellbeing and PHE, said: “One in five homes present a risk to health and wellbeing, both mental and physical, particularly from excess cold and falls.

“Interventions to improve the home or housing circumstances can be effective in preventing and reducing demand for healthcare and social care. To be successful we need everyone to think ‘home and health’.

“Collaboration between local professionals – from environmental health and housing to allied health, public health and social care – is central integrate housing as a means to improve health outcomes and reduce health inequalities.

“PHE recognises how vital this joint working is and will continue to work with partners to address the problems. We hope these resources will demonstrate the breadth of opportunities open to us.”

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