Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

News

GPs prescribe heating to at-risk patients to tackle effects of fuel poverty

BMJ 2022; 379 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o2835 (Published 23 November 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;379:o2835

Rapid Response:

Re: GPs prescribe heating to at-risk patients to tackle effects of fuel poverty

Dear Editor

I admire the initiative of GPs who seek funding for heating fuel, home insulation or fresh fruit and vegetables for some of their local patient list.[1] Local action can be quick enough to anticipate the first snows of Winter. However, the social determinants of health also need national action, and to date the Government's Office for Health Improvement and Disparities has not risen to its statutory responsibility for "delivering system-wide leadership". Older, frailer citizens in hundreds of thousands deserve that leadership for health. Where health funding and community staff are involved, spontaneous amateur and local management will not make systems change. Collaboration for change is a specific skill in public health, and OHID must develop planning resources as soon as possible. These developments should begin with identifying all the assets for health (e.g. wholesale fruit and vegetable stocks) and plans must be transparent and responsive to the wishes of older people !

Remember: Santa Claus has white hair.

[1] Iacobucci G. GPs prescribe heating to at-risk patients to tackle effects of fuel poverty. BMJ 2022;379:o2835

Competing interests: No competing interests

23 November 2022
Woody Caan
Retired professor of public health
Duxford, Cambridge