GPs begin prescribing heating for those that can’t afford to keep warm

Patients with medical conditions that become worse in the cold are now being prescribed heating by their GPs in some areas of the UK. It marks the start of the Warm Home Prescription pilot which aims to pay for the heating of low-income patients suffering such conditions. According to the BBC, 28 low-income patients have benefited so far from the trial scheme which will be expanded to more than 1,000 homes in Teesside, Aberdeenshire, and in the NHS Gloucestershire area.

Mum-of-two Michelle Davis, who suffers from arthritis and severe pulmonary illness, was one of the patients who took part in the trial. "When the weather turns cold, I tend to seize up," she told the BBC. Read more: More than one million households to receive GBP324 HMRC cost of living payment this week "It's very painful, my joints ache and my bones are like hot pokers." Speaking about the benefit of the trial, she continued: "You're not stuck in bed, you're not going to hospital, my children were able to have a life, they were able to go out and play and get cold.

"I was able to be a mum, and my kids could be kids, not just carers." The scheme has been driven by Energy Systems Catapult and energy charity Severn Wye. In order to find out who could benefit from the scheme, NHS social prescribers visit homes, Wales Online reports. Dr Matt Lipson, who helped design the trial, said: "If we buy the energy people need but can't afford, they can keep warm at home and stay out of hospital.

That would target support to where it's needed, save money overall and take pressure off the health service."

Dr Hein La Roux's, whose surgery took part in the trial, said: "It's actually saved a lot of money for other services and also saved our workload."

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