New practitioner network launches housing and integrated care programme

The new Health and Housing Impact Network will this year consider how the built environment, health and social care sectors can better reduce housing-related ill-health across London. Find out more and register for the launch event.

Future of London believes there are huge mutual benefits if housing and built environment professionals can work effectively with the new integrated care systems (ICSs) in London, which bring together NHS organisations, local authorities and others to improve health and reduce inequalities.

The Health and Housing Impact Network was launched to enable practitioners from different professions to work together. In its first year, the network will look at ways to support the integration of housing with health and social care services, starting with a launch event on 4 May 2023.

Housing quality and supply is a key public health factor

The importance of good quality housing and urban design in improving health and wellbeing is well documented. This includes ensuring a wide range of housing is available; improving and adapting existing homes; tackling health inequalities and supporting people to live independently at home.

But it’s clear that health, social care and housing practitioners aren’t yet working in a truly integrated way. 

“Recent shocking instances in the news of inexcusable housing conditions and the health problems they cause have demonstrated just how important it is for health and housing to work together to prevent ill health. Now is a good time to seize the opportunity and take action to improve collaboration.”

Gladys Xavier, Director of Public Health, LB Redbridge

The Nuffield Trust has highlighted the deep-rooted challenges that make collaborative working difficult. “Implementing integrated care takes resources, infrastructure, staff and, importantly, headspace,” according to its People, Places and Partnerships briefing. They also note that staff are at risk of “integration fatigue”.

Health and housing practitioners told us they value the opportunity to explore in more depth how best to ensure housing is baked into integrated care. With Integrated Care Systems in place, now is a great time to come up with concrete ways to collaborate on place-based public health.

“Many of us in the built environment are already addressing health inequalities through our work,” says Clare Wildfire, Global Practice Lead for Cities at Mott Macdonald. “But a focus on better integrating with the health and social care system will allow our work to be more efficient, intentional and ultimately create healthier places for our citizens.”

Enabling housing, health and social care practitioners to working together

The network will be running events throughout 2023 for practitioners and decision-makers from across the built environment, health and social care sectors. The aim is to find new ways to improve physical and mental health, while reducing health inequalities. Likely topics include:

  • maximising the health benefits from improving housing quality
  • solving the longer-term problems in the condition, type and design of homes
  • exploring ways that built environment professionals can collaborate with different parts of the health and care system, such as integrated neighbourhood teams
  • nurturing community-led and neighbourhood-based support services to reduce health inequalities and achieve a more preventative approach
  • triangulating data about health, social care and housing for more effective collaboration and joined-up solutions.

Register for the launch event

Our first event will delve deeper into the subject and help shape the rest of this year’s programme. We want to hear from you the role you are already playing or want to play and how we as a network can support this. Register here

Why the built environment, health and social care sectors should work together

Do you work in the built environment? Here’s what our focus on integrated care can help you:

  • Showcase the work you’re doing to better promote health through design, delivery and management of homes.
  • Learn how health and social care planners and services are collaborating at different levels and how housing fits in to this.
  • Find out shared priorities of health and social care colleagues and what actions you can take together as part of integrated care to promote healthier homes and placemaking.

Do you work in health and social care? Here’s how working with the built environment sector can help you:

  • Showcase the work you’re doing to promote health within the home.
  • Feed in to plans and projects in the built environment to ensure they’re considering integrated care and maximising health benefits.
  • Find out how you can better capitalise on the expertise of architects, planners, developers and housing managers.

Join the mailing list for the latest news from the Health and Housing Impact Network.

The network is supported by Impact on Urban Health.

Logo for Impact on Urban Health. Plain black writing

Photo: Thanks to the age-positive image library from the Centre for Better Aging