Reshaping health services and fuel poverty in the Outer Hebrides
Gluasad Còmhla (Moving Together) started in March 2018, with a grant from the European Social Fund Aspiring Communities Fund. SHUSU were invited to be the evaluation partner and to conduct research with householders and stakeholders who were involved with the project.
The research involved a survey of participating households and interviews with householders benefitting from improvements through the project; interviews with stakeholders in Tighean Innse Gall, the health service, and community organisations; workshops with a wide range of local stakeholders. Through literature and policy review, the findings from the fieldwork were placed into the challenging context of the Outer Hebrides, including the remote rural geography and high levels of fuel poverty, and understood as part of ongoing developments of an approach to health care that emphasise the social determinants of health and seeks to create referral pathways in the community.
The research highlighted the extent to which poor quality housing, combined with remoteness and a harsh climate is accentuating the impact of cold homes on population health. It demonstrated the value of a person-centred approach and of working with a wide range of health care and community professionals to identify where there are opportunities to address health goals through energy efficiency home retrofit. It also added to the evidence base on the tangible health and wellbeing benefits associated with making homes more energy efficient and providing advice on related issues such as tariff switching and available financial support.
Funder: TigheanInnse Gall (as part of their Moving Together project)
Team: Graeme Sherriff, Cormac Lawler, Philip Martin, Danielle Butler, Margaret Probin, Andrea Gibbons, Philip Brown