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Referrals are more effective

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The Healthy Homes Programme was devised after a survey estimated that 11,700 people in private rented accommodation were exposed to conditions serious enough to affect their health, contributing to about 500 deaths and 5,000 illnesses requiring medical attention.

Liverpool has one of the worst records for health inequalities in the country and it was clear that making a difference to poor housing would have a huge impact on improving health inequalities for many of the city’s residents.

It would also reduce the number of premature deaths, GP consultations and admissions to hospital.

One of the biggest challenges the programme faces is the size of the task. It will be focusing on inspecting 15,000 properties in some of the most deprived communities, but with 5.7% of premises being unfit we know there will be thousands more properties to identify and assess.

The joining together of agencies and partnership working has made referrals more effective and greatly widened access to a variety of frontline health services to our most vulnerable residents.

As more agencies become aware of the scheme, our referral process is being improved all the time and we are using community-based advocates to raise awareness and ensure trust.

Any local authority that knows it has a large number of substandard private housing would benefit from operating a Healthy Homes Programme.

Andy Hull, director of stakeholder engagement, Liverpool PCT

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