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Housing offer for health & wellbeing Domini Gunn - 29/11/2012

~ 'It was the best of times; it was the worst of times...' - A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens ~

older_couple_300Retained council housing providers are caught between the best of times in terms of access to key decision makers on Health & Wellbeing Boards and Directors of Public Health; and the worst of times given the rising demand, and need, for affordable housing and housing related support, at a time of unprecedented financial constraint on the commissioning and delivery of public services.

The impact of welfare reform and low wages are exacerbating the impact of reductions in service provision across local authority areas. The sad truth is that things are likely to get worse before they get better.

We are faced with an ageing population with higher levels of health, housing and social care needs. Improved life expectancy is too often lamented rather than celebrated with the challenge it poses for the provision of support, health and care services. Social isolation and increased incidence of dementia are acknowledged as the most pressing needs of our ageing population - both issues that housing providers can, and do, help to address.

The current emphasis on funding crisis and acute needs is resulting in increasing levels of lower level unmet need. This will leave a legacy of emerging high cost unmet need across all statutory agencies unless a smarter, co-ordinated and more efficient reconfiguration of services and resources is actioned quickly.

Given this rather grim scenario how can we make the best use of housing and housing related support services; improve recognition of the key health impact of access to an affordable home, with support where needed, that is fit for purpose; and get best value, and improved outcomes, from investment across housing, health and social care?

What do you need to do?

STAGE 1 - Evaluate your contribution to the health, care and wellbeing of the local community

  • As housing providers you know that the work you do is essential for the health and wellbeing of people. But have you quantified your contribution?


  • Can you present your contribution to your local partners in language that they will understand and accept?


  • Have you measured your outcomes against health, public health and social care objectives and targets?


  • Do you have figures that demonstrate the impact and outcomes of your services against health and social care outcomes?


  • Can you show the cost benefits of housing and housing related support investment to your partners?


STAGE 2 - Develop a local Housing for Health & Wellbeing Offer
Contact for further details.

Background to new health & social care landscape

The government set out its intention to strengthen the role of local government in local health services in its White Paper, Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS (Department of Health, 2010). Statutory health and wellbeing boards would be established across the country to encourage local authorities to take a more strategic approach to providing integrated health and local government services. The Health and Social Care Act 2012 is the legislation that governs the new health landscape.

All Health & Wellbeing Boards will be in place by April 2013 bringing together those involved across the NHS, public health, adult social care and children's services, as well as elected representatives and representatives from HealthWatch, to jointly plan how they can best meet local health and social care needs.

The Care & Support Bill 2012 will have significant implications for joint working between social care and housing that CIH have sought to have extended to health. It also sets out the arrangements for Adult Safeguarding Panels.

Domini Gunn is Director of Health & Wellbeing at the Chartered Institute of Housing.

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