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Selby GP surgeries working to ensure patients stay warm and well

tablet-g1c6ade769_1920Patients in Selby living with health conditions that are impacted by cold homes are being supported by local GP practices through a new project in the town.

More than 1,400 people who have dementia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and severe mental illness have already been written to by the four surgeries in Selby Town Primary Care Network, and patients with heart failure are currently being approached.

The project, run in partnership with Selby-based organisation Yorkshire Energy Doctor and Warm & Well North Yorkshire, aims to provide help with a range of issues that can lead to cold homes, including information on available grants, advice on energy bills and safety visits from the fire service. Its goal is to improve the health and wellbeing of patients by creating safer and warmer homes.

Surgeries have already received 187 responses from patients, with 76% being pensioners. To date, the project team have been able to make 74 referrals to further support, help 43 patients sign up for the Priority Services Register and provide 16 carbon monoxide detectors.

Those in Selby living with one of the four health conditions that are being supported are encouraged to contact their GP surgery and request support if they missed the original letter.

Dr Ruth Walker, a GP at Scott Road Medical Centre, said: "For patients whose illnesses are exacerbated by the weather, living in cold homes can present a wide range of physical and mental challenges.

"With energy prices increasing, this project is helping to provide real quality of life improvements for those people who live in our community. Addressing the wider causes of ill-health, like housing and heating, is an important part of our work with partners to help our patients stay healthy."

The initiative is part of a wider Heating for Health project being run by Yorkshire Energy Doctor, where over 250 health and social care professionals have been provided with training on fuel poverty thanks to funding from Northern Gas Networks.

Dr Kate Urwin, Director of Yorkshire Energy Doctor, said: "We are always looking for new ways to make residents aware of the support available locally to help with unprecedented energy prices. Working with GP surgeries has proved an excellent way to reach residents who may otherwise not come forward for advice."

Warm and Well in North Yorkshire is a partnership project bringing together organisations from the public and charity sectors with the aim of reducing the number of cold homes, cold people and cold deaths within North Yorkshire.

The project is managed by Citizens Advice Mid-North Yorkshire to deliver Winter Health Coordination across North Yorkshire. The contract is funded by North Yorkshire County Council on behalf of the North Yorkshire Winter Health Strategic Partnership.

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