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Green Doctors prescribe ways of keeping Homes Healthy this winter

Posted on 06 January 2016

  • Environmental charity, Groundwork is offering free, nationwide support to those living with fuel poverty and suffering from long term or chronic health conditions
  • Support funded by British Gas Energy Trust
  • Those in need of support need to self-refer to local Groundwork

An environmental charity is offering free support across the country over the next six months in order to help people living with fuel poverty and suffering from long term or chronic health conditions stay healthy.

Groundwork’s ‘Green Doctors’, with financial backing from British Gas Energy Trust, will be visiting up to 2,400 households in different regions across the UK, with a particular focus on supporting those living in privately owned or rented properties.

Properties in Rochdale, Wrexham, Flintshire, Caerphilly, South Wales Valley, Gateshead, Durham, Cheshire West, Chester, Manchester, Bradford and Bolsover will be visited by the Green Doctors.

Support measures on offer include: fitting energy efficiency equipment and supplying householders with a ‘winter warmer’ pack; including fleeces, hats, gloves and draught proofing. 

Green Doctors will also arrange a follow up call with the person living in the properties visited to assess the impact of the energy efficiency measures installed. 

The aim of the scheme is to ensure that those in need have the help and support they need in order to stay healthy and toasty, especially as the winter cold snap ramps up.

A household is in fuel poverty if it is on a low income and faces high costs of keeping adequately warm and other basic energy services. Fuel poverty is driven by three main factors: household income, the current cost of energy and the energy efficiency of the home. 

Graham Duxbury, Chief Executive at Groundwork UK said: “Winter can be a very challenging time when some of the most vulnerable people in society are faced with a stark choice of heating or eating.”

“In some cases the effects of fuel poverty can be fatal and we’re keen to make sure that people also suffering from long term or chronic health conditions get the support they need to stay healthy.”

A recent report1 by Public Health England suggests around 10% of excess winter deaths are attributable to fuel poverty. 

Similarly, evidence suggests that more than one in five excess winter deaths in England and Wales are attributable to cold housing. The cost of fuel poverty to the NHS in England is estimated to be £1.36 billion, not including associated social care costs.

“A targeted service such as Groundwork’s Green Doctors can help to keep people warm and healthy while reducing the pressure on NHS and related services,” Graham added.  “We’d encourage everyone involved in healthcare across the country to consider how providing support to vulnerable people in their homes can be part of a wider public health package.”


For further information, contact:

Stacey Aplin, PR and Communications Officer, Groundwork UK

T:  0121 237 5815      

Notes to Editors

Source 1: Fuel poverty and cold home-related problems, Public Health England, 2014 

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for Green Doctor a doctor visit, householders must be:

Living in a disadvantaged areas (as defined in Index of Multiple Deprivation), and must also be one of the following:

  • People over 65
  • People with respiratory illnesses, particularly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and childhood asthma
  • People with cardiovascular disease, particularly ischemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease
  • People with severe mental illness, including but limited to schizophrenia, bipolar and moderate to severe depression
  • People with dementia
  • Families containing children under the age of five
  • Pregnant women

For further information, please click here.

About Groundwork

Groundwork is the community charity with a green heart. 

  • We want places to look better, streets to be safer and outside areas to be green and beautiful. 
  • We want people of all ages to be able to do stuff together to make the best of where they live. 
  • We want to improve job prospects by offering training and employment opportunities.
  • We want to show people how they can make their homes and workplaces better for the environment and cheaper to run.