New scheme in Sunderland has already reduced GP and outpatient visits by a third and cut heating bills by £30 a month. Study shows recipients left "happier" and healthier after the scheme and better off financially. It's also beneficial to the environment.
"The impact of cold weather on health is estimated to cost the NHS £1.5bn a year and over 18,000 people died prematurely last winter. However, energy bills have soared in recent years, leaving millions of people in fuel poverty and unable to heat their homes properly." [Hence, the greater illness and deaths.]
"Ballard said cold, damp homes have a triple whammy on people’s health. The direct effect is hypothermia, particularly in older people. “I have seen patient after patient come in with very low core temperatures,” he said. Second, is the effect on respiratory conditions, with asthma and COPD patients suffering particularly badly in cold, damp houses, said Ballard. It also damages mental health and wellbeing, he said: “It’s the attritional thing about being in poverty [due to high energy bills] and being cold.”