Working to help vulnerable people stay in their home

Helping vulnerable people to stay in their own home and avoiding homelessness are top priorities for Wycombe District Council (WDC).

The Private Sector Housing Renewal policy, which covers all forms of mandatory and discretionary financial assistance, was discussed and agreed when cabinet met last night (Monday 12 March).

WDC continues to pioneer ways of helping residents with housing issues, and was one of a small handful of councils nationwide flagged up recently by the NHS’s Professor Keith Willett, England’s top urgent care doctor, for introducing successful local initiatives.

Prof Willett used WDC’s Healthy Homes on Prescription initiative as a good example of a local authority helping frail residents and simultaneously reducing costs to the public purse.

Healthy Homes on Prescription allows medical or social care practitioners to refer patients for simple, fast-tracked housing solutions to support independent living at home. This could include for example a stair lift or central heating system.

By preventing hospital admission and GP attendances, it is already saving the NHS £53,476 and social care £132,984 annually.

Cllr Julia Langley, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “Healthy Homes on Prescription has proven a huge success in helping vulnerable people to stay in their home longer or return home from treatment sooner, which in turn frees up much-needed hospital beds.

“Agreeing and implementing the Private Sector Housing Renewal policy may seem a bit dry and ‘process-y’, but it is really important to formalise how we continue to carry out this essential work.

“Local authorities have statutory duties to develop appropriate policies to deal with deficiencies in the condition of housing stock in the area. This policy sets out formally in one document how the council will use the powers available to meet these duties.”

The NHS press release that features Wycombe District Council’s Healthy Homes on Prescription scheme can be found at