Plumbers can be "foot soldiers" in fuel poverty fight

Plumbers have a duty of care to help in the fight against fuel poverty, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

The body has released new guidelines encouraging non-health and social care workers - including plumbers, tradesmen and heating engineers - to assess homeowners' heating needs and make it clear when work should be carried out. 

With the permission of the homeowners, these workers could also refer those at risk for local assistance in an effort to tackle cold environments.

Additional training could be given to workers to help them spot when people are in danger of developing a health problem as a result of living in a poorly-ventilated and heated house. 

Heating and Hotwater Industry Council (HHIC) external affairs manager Isaac Occhipinti has backed the idea, saying installers, plumbers and tradesmen can become the "foot soldiers in the fight against fuel poverty".

As a large proportion of the UK's housing stock is "old and of a poor quality" and features inefficient heating systems, they can be expensive to operate. If people cannot afford to keep their heating on, Mr Occhipinti pointed out they are more likely to suffer from heart attacks, strokes, influenza, asthma and other respiratory diseases.

Considering that around eight million visits are made annually by the HHIC, it's clear to see the potential there is for workmen to make a real difference to people's lives. 

"NICE [is] right to want to engage with installers, plumbers and other tradespeople and [it wants] to do so without the usual bureaucracy and red tape that other organisations require," he added.

This is further evidence of just how important the plumbing industry is, and here at The Shower Doctor we're confident these workers will do their bit. If we all pull together we can improve the quality of heating in homes and the quality of life for those living in them.

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