Hazards caused by poor quality homes in England are costing the NHS £1.4bn a year.
The Building Research Establishment (BRE) found that 2.6m homes, making up 11 per cent of the country’s housing stock, are deemed ‘poor quality’ and endangering residents.
The study looked at the 2018 English Housing Survey (EHS) on health and safety hazards in the home, alongside NHS treatment costs of the same year.
Out of poor housing related health issues, excess cold costs the NHS the most at £857m per year, with 836,000 incidents recorded. It would cost a total of £6bn to mitigate the hazard, the BRE added.
Hazards that cause people to fall and injure themselves, commonly on staircases, has posed the second biggest cost to the health service.
Falls on stairs cost the NHS £219m, with around 1.048million incidents. This was the most common hazard, caused by disrepair to, or a lack of a handrail for balustrade.
Health issues caused by dampness cost the NHS £38m in 2018, after 75,000 incidents were recorded.
BRE’s chief executive, Gillian Charlesworth, said: “Millions of individuals and families are living in unhealthy housing – a reality that is having a huge impact on the NHS.”
While progress has been made on the condition of homes since the organisation’s last report in 2016, Charlesworth believes “a big challenge remains.”
She added: “The cost burdens currently being faced by the NHS and wider society from unhealthy housing will continue unless a targeted effort is undertaken to improve the poorest housing stock”.