Warm Home Prescription - Impact on Health & Wellbeing and Attitudes to Heat

Living in a cold home can raise the risk of a number of health conditions, with an estimated 10,000 people dying each year across the UK as a result.

The NHS spends over £860million treating people living in cold homes in England alone. To address this issue, Energy Systems Catapult invented ‘Warm Home Prescription’ (WHP) in response to the challenge of helping low income and vulnerable individuals stay warm, well, and out of hospital through the winter months.

This 2022-23 trial could not have been delivered without the time and expertise of our NHS partners (NHS Grampian, Holgate PCN, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust and NHS Gloucestershire) and local energy advice organisations (SCARF, NEA, SELCE and Severn Wye Energy Agency). The trial was funded by bp.

WHP finds people with health conditions made worse by the cold and gives them immediate, effective support by providing them the help they need to keep their home at a warm, healthy temperature.

To enable the large-scale rollout of the service, a digital solution was created by the Catapult. The service works to deliver rapid, practical help:

  • NHS staff (including social prescribers and public health teams) identify eligible recipients
  • Recipients are contacted by the NHS and offered a “warm home prescription” to be delivered by local energy advisors
  • Recipients can immediately start heating their home to a healthy temperature
  • Further home energy upgrades are arranged where possible.

The Warm Home Prescription – Impact on Health & Wellbeing and Attitudes to Heat report outlines the impact of the 2022/23 WHP trial on recipients and delivery staff, as reported by the participants themselves.

Key points

This WHP 2022/23 trial delivered what was needed to provide a warm home to over 800 households across four areas of England and Scotland through collaboration with nine organisations working on health and energy.

Overall, WHP recipients were able to heat their home more and to a higher temperature, and as a result, their reported mental and physical health, as well as general wellbeing, improved.

  • 70% of recipients reported that WHP had a positive effect on their mental health 
  • 79% of recipients found it had a positive impact on their physical health
  • 93% of recipients indicated that they place greater importance on being warm than they did before the trial
  • 94% of health professionals were satisfied with the WHP experience
  • 98% saying they would take part in WHP again.

Finally, 76% of recipients reported that after WHP they were more likely to make improvements to their homes, to make it more energy efficient and easier to heat.

Read the Report

Warm Home Prescription – Impact on Health & Wellbeing and Attitudes to Heat

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VIDEO: Warm Home Prescription – Impact on Health & Wellbeing and Attitudes to Heat in 2022/23 trial

Warm Homes Prescription – Impact and Value for Money Report

Sheffield Hallam University – Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) delivered an independent report on the Impact and Value for Money assessment of Energy Systems Catapult’s Warm Home Prescription (WHP) project.

In 2022, Energy Systems Catapult commissioned CRESR as an evaluation partner to work with them to co-produce an evaluation of the WHP project. CRESR’s role has included:

  • Developing a Theory of Change to inform the delivery of WHP and its evaluation.
  • Scoping and designing the evaluation framework and methods; this included a literature review and commissioner consultations to establish the current evidence base as well as stakeholder views on methods of evaluation, standards of evidence and key outcomes to inform commissioning decisions.
  • Supporting the data collection process.
  • Informing and supporting access to secondary and administrative datasets.
  • Reporting on the impact and value for money of the WHP project.

Key points

CRESR finding to emerge from evaluation of the WHP 2022/23 trial were:

  • In total 823 patients received a WHP with most patients being over 65 years old and retired or not working due to disability. Many were also living in a low-income household and had poor levels of health and wellbeing, especially when compared to national benchmarks. Few lived in a newer property, built since 1999.
  • Before receiving their WHP a majority of patients (53 per cent) were only heating their home sometimes, rarely or never and less than two fifths of patients agreed to normally feeling comfortably warm in their living room.
  • After receiving their WHP most patients reported that they set their heating to achieve a healthy temperature and many more patients reported that they usually or always had their heating on.
  • Many patients reported that they worry less about their finances since receiving WHP and they are able to spend more on other essential items, such as food.
  • There is emerging evidence that patients used primary health care services less than expected after receiving a WHP.
  • The value for money assessment suggests for every £1 of expenditure, WHP supported £5.1 of wellbeing social value to patients.

Read the Sheffield Hallam University report

Warm Homes Prescription – Impact and Value for Money Report

Warm Home Prescription

An innovative service that supports people with cold sensitive health conditions to stay warm and well at home – and out of hospital

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