> 'Energy on Prescription' awarded £400,000 grant
'Energy on Prescription' awarded £400,000 grant
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01 February 2012
A new project set to transform the lives of some of County Durham’s most vulnerable people has been given the green light thanks to a £400,000 grant from the Department of Health.
Energy on Prescription will be delivered by Durham County Council and partners – tadea and Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust.
The project allows GPs to prescribe energy to their most vulnerable patients to help keep them warm and healthy at home – and out of hospital.
In November 2011 the Department of Health announced a Cold Weather Plan for the UK, aimed at reducing the impact of severe cold weather on health.
Tied into the plan was a £20m Warm Homes Healthy People fund, to which local authorities were invited to bid into to deliver the Cold Weather Plan’s objectives in their area. From this fund came the £400,000 needed for the project.
Sarah Lee is the jointly appointed Health Projects Manager for tadea and NHS County Durham and Darlington.
She says: “We are delighted to have been awarded this money to deliver Energy on Prescription. This will be a county-wide version our award-winning pilot carried out in Durham Dales last winter. It will involve working closely with GPs to identify the county’s most at-risk residents and patients, and ensuring that they enjoy the energy they require to support their health needs.
“In the same way as they would prescribe oxygen to a patient with a chronic lung disease, we are enabling GPs to prescribe energy to keep their most vulnerable patients warm and healthy at home.”
Energy on Prescription is a short-term measure – it works by ensuring that energy bills are paid over the winter. Over the longer term, tadea will continue to engage with those patients identified and provide them with the means to be more energy efficient, maximise benefit uptake and make use of insulation grants in an effort to help them cut bills and keep warm.