The NHS is drawing up a national charter that will call on local health bosses to work with housing providers to improve services.
Representatives from the new NHS commissioning board have approached the Chartered Institute of Housing, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and Care and Repair England, among other groups, to devise a strategy to involve housing organisations in healthcare.
The non-departmental NHS board was set up by the Department of Health last month to improve the health of people in England. It is drawing up a ‘compact’, or agreement, with the housing organisations, which it hopes will be used as a national model to persuade local clinical commissioning groups, including GPs, hospital boards and mental health services, to work with councils and housing associations more closely.
This could include coordinating care when people leave hospital or home-based care for older people.
Sarah Davis, senior policy and practice officer at the CIH, said: “The commissioning board is setting out a compact with housing experts to identify the ways housing can support better health and well-being. It has recognised that housing is a key solution to health.”
A spokesperson for the commissioning board said: “[The board] is currently in discussion with a range of organisations within the housing sector to explore how quality housing can contribute to improving people’s health outcomes.”
The NHS must save £20 billion by 2015 by finding better ways of caring for people. The money will be reinvested in front line services.
Rebecca Mollart, erosh’s director of policy, said: “This is a very positive development which we very much welcome. Housing providers have for a long time sought wider recognition of the role good quality housing and housing related support plays in people’s health and well-being. To achieve this, we need to progress from talking about it to putting in place practical measures and structures that actually make it happen and this is definitely a step in the right direction.”