Opinion Former Article

NEA organises ground-breaking health seminars

National Energy Action (NEA), in conjunction with npower's Health Through Warmth scheme, has organised a series of seminars exploring ways of cutting the numbers of people who die because they cannot keep warm every winter.

Aimed at health professionals, NEA is holding four seminars across the country that will provide policy makers, commissioners and front-line NHS staff with a broader understanding of fuel poverty and its effects on health.

There were more than 23,000 excess winter deaths across England and Wales during the winter of 2007/8, the latest winter that figures are available for. Being cold in the home worsens existing medical conditions, lowers the body's ability to fight infection and also leads to a drop in concentration levels making accidents in the home more likely.

The seminars will focus on both national and regional policy perspectives and will highlight practical actions that can be taken to cut the number of excess winter deaths. They will include an opportunity for networking and discussion.

The seminars will be held in Birmingham on the morning of June 17, Liverpool (June 18), Newcastle (June 23) and Leeds (July 9).

NEA chief executive Jenny Saunders said: "Thousands of people across England and Wales continue to die unnecessarily because they live in damp, cold and poorly insulated homes. Seminars like this one aim to look at innovative ways of reducing this shocking statistics. I'm sure the events will generate a great deal of discussion and sharing of good projects as well as providing an opportunity to meet other people involved in work around fuel poverty and health.

"Elaine Midwinter, npower Health Through Warmth manager, added: "Since the launch of Health Through Warmth in 2000, we've helped over 47,000 households of people with cold and damp related illnesses. By working with the NEA to host these seminars, we hope to both share our knowledge and learn from the experiences of others. It is through these initiatives that - together - we can ensure that those eligible for assistance can be identified and given the help and advice they so desperately need."

To find out more about the seminars and to attend contact NEA public relations officer Claire Henderson on 0191 261 5677 or email claire.henderson@nea.org.uk.

For more information on Health Through Warmth visit www.healththroughwarmth.com

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