Housing organisations are large, active and engaged community organisations that have regular contact with many NHS patients. They can help to orchestrate a transformation in health, but achieving this requires communication, planning and coordination with health partners.
Here are just some of the reasons why you should put effort into building a relationship with housing organisations.
- Housing organisations can help you to access the broader range of community provision. They are in touch with, collaborate with, and sometimes form consortia with, many local voluntary organisations and charities.
- They are not-for-profit, so any surpluses they make providing a service will be reinvested into providing services to communities
- Housing organisations can save you money by working with people (your patients) in their homes and communities on non-medical issues that could become major health problems if not addressed.
- They can help you to build prevention and early intervention programmes at a time when there is high demand both for GP services and for expensive acute care
- Your patients spend the large majority of their time in their homes – the quality of the home and neighbourhood environment is an important factor in maintaining physical, mental and social wellbeing and can be the difference between living comfortably at home and multiple admissions to hospital
- Some of your patients have regular contact with their landlord so landlords should be involved in ‘Making Every Contact Count’ arrangements
- Housing organisations are part of the local health economy – they provide a wide range of ‘health and wellbeing’ services that promote better population health, as well as providing homes
- Some of your patients’ non-medical needs can be addressed by housing organisations such as issues with confidence, family difficulties, poor condition homes – leaving you more time to focus on medical matters
- They are used to consulting residents on as wide variety of matters and may be able to bring this together with patient participation groups
- Many housing organisations are ready and willing to work with you to create the conditions in which your patients can thrive and become less dependent on health services