Government Pledges £3 Million for Boilers on Prescription
Energy Secretary Ed Davey is set to allocate £3 million in funding in preparation for a national programme which will see GPs prescribe boilers, insulation, and double-glazing to people in fuel poverty.
Initial work will begin on developing systems which will make it easier for doctors to decide whether patients need home improvements. Introduced as part of the government’s Fuel Poverty Strategy, the scheme is said to have the full backing of Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Commenting in the Independent, Mr Davey questioned why it has taken so long for this type of approach to be introduced. “Talking to GPs and other health professionals, they get frankly fed up when they’re just dealing with the symptoms and not the root causes,” he said. “This all costs money, huge amounts of money, dealing with the blooming symptoms. I want to deal with the root causes. Why hasn’t this been done before? I am absolutely furious that people have not done this before.”
The national roll-out will build on 73 pilot schemes that have been running around the country, some of which have cut GP and outpatient visits by up to a third. Last month the charity National Energy Action warned that cold homes could kill 100,000 vulnerable people in the next 15 years. They estimate that the annual NHS bill for treating cold-related conditions is currently £1.5 billion.