William Eichler 11 June 2018

Loneliness prevention initiatives can save councils £2m, council chiefs say

Loneliness prevention initiatives can save councils £2m, council chiefs say image

National health policy needs to recognise the ‘cost-effective benefits’ of initiatives designed to tackle loneliness, local government leaders say.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has warned that loneliness is a growing problem for people of all ages and is a ‘major public health concern’.

Loneliness, they said, can be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, increases the risk of premature death by 26%, and is associated with higher rates of depression, high blood pressure and dementia.

This places a lot of pressure on an already overstretched health and social care system.

‘For too many people, loneliness is their reality all year round,’ said Cllr Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board.

‘They are often less able to look after themselves, which can make existing health conditions worse, and are more likely to become reliant on public services sooner.

‘The older population continues to rise and loneliness is also a burgeoning issue among the younger generation. This is leading to increasing demand on social care and health services, and greater costs to the public purse.’

However, the LGA said councils are doing pioneering work to tackle loneliness which has helped ease the burden on the health sector.

This includes organising community events such as communal lunches and putting in place networks of community connectors (cafe owners, for example) who can refer people to available support.

Mendip District Council, for example, has reduced emergency admissions to local hospitals by as much as 20% and related costs to the public purse by £2m.

‘Councils, working with communities and health partners, are spearheading successful initiatives which are reducing loneliness, improving the quality of people’s lives, and reducing avoidable hospital admissions and health and social care costs,’ said Cllr Seccombe.

‘But significant Government funding reductions is hampering the ability of councils to continue or expand this key intervention and prevention work.

‘To maximise cost effectiveness and improve health and wellbeing, we urge Government to reverse reductions to councils’ public health budgets and plug the funding gap facing adult social care which is set to exceed more than £2bn by 2020.’

Keeping the safety net image

Keeping the safety net

Local authority leadership is invaluable to Transitional Safeguarding and councils are ideally placed to enable complexity-attuned commissioning, says Dez Holmes.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Director of Children's Safeguarding and Care 

Gloucestershire County Council
Up to £116,391, plus relocation support
We are looking to fill this vital role at a very important time for us.  Our children’s services team is on an important journey of... Gloucestershire
Recuriter: Gloucestershire County Council

Director of Adult Social Care (DASS)

Hull City Council
£98,166 - £98,166
We are now seeking to recruit an exceptional transformational leader to build on our existing success. Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire
Recuriter: Hull City Council

Senior Building Surveyor

Bedford Borough Council
£34,728 - £36,880 per annum
An exciting opportunity has arisen following a comprehensive restructure of Economic Growth and Property. Bedfordshire
Recuriter: Bedford Borough Council

Senior Planning Officer

Three Rivers District Council
£30,451 to £33,782 (exc. LW)
We are looking to appoint a Senior Planning Officer. Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire
Recuriter: Three Rivers District Council

Insurance Manager

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£43,833 to £53,115 per annum
An opportunity has arisen for a skilled and experienced insurance professional to lead a busy and friendly Insurance Team providing a... Wandsworth, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue