Working together to improve public health and wellbeing

Development of consensus statements

NHS England has published consensus statements with fire and rescue services, policing and social care services, and the ambulance service.  These statements encourage local areas to develop joint strategies for prevention and health improvement. They aim to ensure that people supported by our organisations get the personalised, integrated care and support they need to live full lives and sustain their independence for longer.

Working with policing and social care services

NHS England has supported the launch of a joint consensus statement between policing, health and social care organisations to improve people’s health and wellbeing, prevent crime and protect the most vulnerable people in England.

The Policing Vision 2025, published at the end of 2016, recognised the growing need for collaboration across the system to prevent crime and protect vulnerable people in England. The factors which lead to poor health, such as adverse childhood experiences, poverty, social exclusion and addiction, are also factors which increase the likelihood of being involved in crime.  By working together and intervening early we can improve public safety, reduce crime and help to improve outcomes.

Fire as a health asset programme

There are common underlying risk factors which increase demands on all services. These include long-term conditions, mental health conditions, cognitive impairment, smoking, drugs or substance misuse, physical inactivity, poor diet, obesity, loneliness and/or social isolation, cold homes and frailty. By identifying people with these risk factors and taking a whole system approach to interventions which are centred on peoples’ needs, we can make every contact count, irrespective of which service it is from.

NHS England has launched a joint Consensus Statement with the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA), Public Health England (PHE), Local Government Association (LGA) and Age UK. The statement encourages local commissioners and fire and rescue to roll out ‘Safe and Well’ checks in people’s homes when they visit.

Working with commissioners, fire and rescue services will aim to extend the 670,000 home safety checks already carried out each year into a ‘Safe and Well’ visit to help the vulnerable and those with complex conditions. We have jointly published design principles for safe and well visits, which can be tailored to reflect local needs, and guidance on working together to help services develop these in their area.

The risk for someone over the age of 65 of dying in a fire is more than twice as high as the average risk for all ages. As well as reducing the risks of a fire, they will aim to reduce health risks such as falls, loneliness and isolation which will also reduce unplanned admissions and help people to stay in their own homes safely and for longer.

A Safe and Well visit is a person-centred home visit carried out by fire and rescue services. The visit expands the scope of previous home checks by focusing on health as well as fire. It involves the systematic identification of, and response to, health and wellbeing issues along with fire risk reduction.

  • The Chief Fire Officers Association (now the National Fire Chiefs Council): Ageing Safely strategy document requires fire and rescue services to think and plan far beyond their traditional role as an emergency response service

Fire as a health asset case studies

The Chief Fire Officers Association website has a number of case studies showcasing individual fire and rescue services’  work and a document which describes the impact that Safe and Well visits have had on eight individuals and the outcomes of their assessment.

The Local Government Association’s ‘Beyond Fighting Fires 1’ contains eight case studies on the work of fire and rescue services (FRS) and partner agencies with people with dementia and other vulnerable people to reduce not just fire risk but other risks in the home. FRS staff are also being trained in promoting healthy living in a variety of ways including advice on diet and exercise.

Beyond Fighting Fires 2’ looks at transformation in the FRS and describes collaborative projects with clinical commissioning groups, police and ambulance services and an increasingly wide variety of other partners.

Working with the ambulance services

NHS England launched a joint consensus statement with the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives and other partners. It reflects  the evolving role of the ambulance service as a mobile healthcare provider using the expertise residing in its workforce to help keep people well.

Further information about the support for this is available from the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives website.