Tel: -020 8839 2439 /

New hidden army to tackle fuel poverty in the UK

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has proposed that a ‘hidden army of non-health professional’ should help identify vulnerable people living in dangerously cold homes to assist in reducing the toll of winter deaths.


The report suggests that plumbers, heating engineers and meter installers should be frontline in ‘sounding the alarm on freezing homes’. On average, there are about 24,000 more deaths in the UK between December and March compared with the rest of the year; mainly due to heart disease and respiratory disease; and for each death there are approximately eight extra non-fatal hospital admissions.


David Sloan, co-chair of the NICE committee which developed the guidance, published on Thursday, said: “Doctors, nurses and other health staff prevent and treat illnesses every day but we are suggesting that thinking about the health effects of cold homes is also their business. This new NICE guideline says that health, social care and other professionals should always take a minute to consider the health risk of cold homes when in contact with patients and clients, and know what steps to take to get help to the people who need it. Action on cold homes can prevent early deaths.”


The guidance says that local health and wellbeing boards should establish a single-point-of-contact referral system that GPs, plumbers, or others can contact should they have concerns. The intention is that people in cold homes could then get help, such as building insulation or advice on moving to cheaper energy tariffs.


Back the campaign!

We are in full support of this initiative and NICE’s proposals and are urging our training providers to also support this campaign, helping to promote it, as a means of combating fuel poverty among the UK’s homes.


The charity’s director, Caroline Abrahams, said: “Too many older people continue to endure misery, hardship, anxiety, ill health and, in worst cases, death, because they can’t afford to heat their homes properly. This guideline finally offers the chance of kick-starting urgent action on these issues, which is long overdue.”


Need to update your heating qualifications? Check out our gas courses, here. 

Back to top