Heating engineers and plumbers can help cut cold home deaths

Heating engineers and plumbers have a key role to play in cutting the number of excess deaths caused by winter cold, says the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). It says that tradespeople making visits to homes could be referring householders at risk to council teams set up to provide help and guidance on improving the energy efficiency of their home and grants to help them do the work.

It has issued new guidance for care commissioners, managers and health, social care and voluntary sector practitioners, including guidelines on the training of heating engineers and insulation installers. NICE deputy chief executive Professor Gillian Leng said, “NICE recommends that health and wellbeing boards should ensure a single-point-of-contact health and housing referral service is commissioned to help vulnerable people who live in cold homes.

“Anyone who comes into contact with vulnerable groups should be able to refer people to the service, including health and social care staff, safety services staff and workers from charities and voluntary organisations.”

Its guidance comes just days after government announced £3m funding to develop a ‘boiler on prescription’ programme, and released a new fuel strategy.

The NICE guidance, Excess winter deaths and morbidity and the health risks associated with cold homes, is available here.

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