At the last count, 845,000 households were living in fuel poverty in Scotland – those defined as needing to spend more than 10% of their household income on energy usage to keep their home warm and cosy. We know that not being able to afford their fuel bills can have a huge impact on the health of the household – it’s linked to breathing or cardiovascular problems, issues relating to mould and dampness, and difficult decisions between heating or eating. In fact, children living in cold homes are twice as likely to have respiratory problems, and at least 1 in 10 excess deaths each winter can be attributed to cold housing – in 2014/15, this accounted for at least 400 people.
Shelter Scotland’s healthy homes projects aims to highlight links between health, fuel poverty and housing. The project aims to join forces between health, housing and energy advice sectors, supporting frontline health and social care workers to spot patients or clients who might be struggling to heat their homes or pay their energy bills, and know where to refer them on for help. A free elearning course has been developed for frontline workers, and will be particularly of benefit to community nurses working in and visiting patients in their own homes.
The course is a basic course around fuel poverty and health which will take around 30 minutes to complete. If staff already have pre-existing relationships or partnerships with an energy advice organisation, this course is unlikely to have the same benefits.
By the end of this course you will be able to:
- Understand how to identify and assess people at risk of fuel poverty
- Recognise how to guide patients on an education process of low level behaviour changes that will reduce fuel poverty and improve health outcomes
- Recognise the key links between fuel poverty and health
- Identify how to refer patients to national and local energy advice programmes
If you work in health and social care and would benefit from our eLearning course, please get in touch with Lisa Glass, Partnership Officer for Health, firstname.lastname@example.org , 0344 515 2469
 Scottish Government, Scottish House Condition Survey: Key Findings 2014, http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2015/12/8460/downloads
 Marmot Review Team, 2011, The health impacts of cold homes and fuel poverty, http://www.instituteofhealthequity.org/projects/the-health-impacts-of-cold-homes-and-fuel-poverty
 Hills, J. (2012) Getting the measure of fuel poverty: Final report of the fuel poverty review https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/final-report-of-the-fuel-poverty-review
 NRS Winter Mortality in Scotland 2014/15, http://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/statistics-and-data/statistics/statistics-by-theme/vital-events/deaths/winter-mortality/winter-mortality-in-scotland-201415/tables-and-figures