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Community health scheme wins national award


16 June 2015

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Work to improve the health and wellbeing of vulnerable people through the London Borough of Islington’s ‘SHINE’ initiative, has been recognised at the Ashden sustainable energy awards in London. 

Work to improve the health and wellbeing of vulnerable people through the London Borough of Islington’s ‘SHINE’ initiative, has been recognised at the Ashden sustainable energy awards in London. 

This initiative is a one-stop referral network for affordable warmth and winter health, involving the integration of more than 80 local organisations, from GP surgeries to energy companies, who can refer vulnerable people to the SHINE team.

The team then offers a range of support, from advice on grants for heating and insulation to air quality alerts, benefit checks, flu vaccinations and a befriending services.

People who have chronic respiratory diseases and live in cold, damp houses are repeatedly admitted to accident and emergency departments, but their treatment can be less effective due to problems in their homes, a problem which costs the NHS £1.36bn a year according to Age UK.

Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive of NICE, said: “I’d like to warmly congratulate John Kolm-Murray and his team on winning. The service that they run is an example of how a single-point-of-contact facility helps a range of organisations to work together smoothly to help people at risk of health problems because of cold homes.”

More than 8,900 households have been helped since the initiative started in 2010, which has also saved every home an average of over £200 annually.

Doctor Jonathan Cohen, consultant paediatrician at University College Hospital in Londonand member of the SHINE Network, said: “Helping families with their respiratory health by living in a better environment means they will need to draw on NHS resources less in terms of trips to their GP, or to hospital. This service should be replicated everywhere. It saves time, it saves money and it enables the limited NHS resources to go where they’re really needed.”

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