NHS to join forces with major developers to build a healthy national future

As England sets about expanding the number of affordable houses being built, NHS England is today calling on the country’s top housing developers to apply the lessons from the first Healthy New Towns schemes by creating a national network that will put healthy living at the heart of future home building.

In January 2018, NHS England will be inviting applications for housing developers and associations to join a national network that will help improve the health of the nation by:

  • Working in partnership with local NHS hospitals, community nurses and family doctors as well as local authorities and voluntary sector to prioritise healthy living schemes in new housing developments, above and beyond current practice.
  • Testing new ideas, such as fitness adventure trails and tech enabled homes to help elderly residents.
    NHS England, in partnership with Public Health England, launched the Healthy New Towns programme to explore new and innovative ways to tackle the biggest health and care challenges of the 21st century, such as obesity, dementia and social isolation.

The programme has proved popular, with the design competition for the Halton site attracting bids from across the globe, including the USA, Spain, India and Japan.

There are 10 sites taking part in the scheme, covering 60,000 new homes. Ideas so far include safe play areas for children, ‘one-stop’ health hubs and digitally monitored fitness programmes to get everyone exercising.

But with the Government targeting one million new homes, there is huge potential for the Healthy New Towns programme to reach far beyond the existing sites.

This is why NHS England now wants to join forces with major housing developers to ensure their expertise and the lessons learned from the Healthy New Towns programme can be combined to benefit every new housing development in the country.

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, National Clinical Director for Obesity and Diabetes at NHS England, said: “The Healthy New Towns programme has proved more popular than anyone could have predicted, uniting the NHS, house builders and local councils behind the goal of making us healthier and happier as a nation.

“Currently the demand to be part of the programme is outstripping supply so as the NHS turns 70, we are launching a new network of partners to ensure the great work done so far can have an even greater impact across the country and for years to come.”