Section: Repairs & Maintenance

BRE report finds poor housing is costing NHS millions

Posted 12.11.21
Building Research Establishment (BRE): Further reading

A new report published by BRE - 'The Cost of Poor Housing in England' - finds that poor housing in England could be costing the National Health Service (NHS) £1.4 billion a year in treatment bills.

According to BRE's analysis, more than half of this annual NHS treatment bill can be attributed to defects in poor homes, which expose residents to excess cold. The second biggest cost to the NHS comes from hazards which cause people to fall and injure themselves - predominantly on staircases.

Both issues are particularly dangerous for the most vulnerable in society, such as older people and families with young children.

BRE was able to quantify the cost of poor housing to the NHS by combining existing data from the 2018 English Housing Survey (EHS) on health and safety hazards in the home, with NHS treatment cost figures.

According to the latest EHS, an estimated 2.6 million homes in England - 11% of the country's housing stock - contained at least one 'Category one hazard' and were therefore considered 'poor'.

The BRE report also identifies that, beyond the cost to the NHS, there are 'societal costs' brought on by poor housing - such as those relating to long-term care, mental health and poorer educational achievement.

BRE's findings indicate the cost to wider society of poor housing could equate to £18.5 billion per year.


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Edited by Mike Skilton

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Reporting on November 2021

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