NHS England's new "Health New Towns Network" is a great example of how health and housing organisations can work effectively together. This joined up approach to reducing health inequalities is in its infancy, but looks very promising.
Some of the schemes being mooted include:
1. Homes adaptations for people with dementia, and which has proved successful elsewhere;
2. Digital community exercise programmes, outdoor gyms and healthy cafes to tackle obesity
3. Community gardens to promote mental health and prevent loneliness.
With an ageing population, and with mental health firmly on the agenda, it is great to see cross-sector co-operation that is firmly aimed at improving life chances for individuals. I will be watching progress with interest, and hoping that some great ideas can be picked up and rolled out to other communities.
It would be even better if health and housing could come together to tackle the need for step-down accommodation to assist those being discharged from hospital and to help address "bed-blocking" - we are still seeing only a small handful of those projects coming through, despite desperate need.
Housing developers and associations have signed up to an NHS scheme which will see them make people’s home environments a healthier place