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.’

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Principal Clinical/Counselling Psychologist

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Principal Clinical/Counselling PsychologistPermanent, Part Time£51,510 to £55,000 per annum (Pro Rata)The Divisional Based Intervention Team (D-BIT) a England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Assistant Director of Housing

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
£90,205 per annum      
This is an excellent time to work within Rotherham. We are passionate about the place and the people who live, work and visit here. Rotherham, South Yorkshire
Recuriter: Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Joint Assistant Director – Commissioning and Performance

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
£90,205
As the Assistant Director, you will be passionate about achieving excellent performance and determined to... Rotherham, South Yorkshire
Recuriter: Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Social Workers - Family Support and Protection - North Essex

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Social Workers and Senior Practitioners- Family Support and Protection - North EssexPermanent, Full Time£32,065 to £49,183 per annumLocation
Recuriter: Essex County Council

School Attendance Lead

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£44,370 - £50,964 per annum
This is a multi-layered role, in which you'll both be a trusted advisor, and you will be representative of the legal need for... Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

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