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Keep Warm, Keep Well

Volume 475: debated on Thursday 8 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cost has been of the (a) publication and (b) distribution of his Department’s Keep Warm, Keep Well information booklet; when the booklets were first made available for distribution in 2007; what assessment he has made of the efficacy of the distribution of the booklets; which agencies were involved in the distribution to doctors’ surgeries of the booklets; and if he will make a statement. (202243)

The Department recognises the importance of fuel poverty and its impact upon excess winter mortality, health and well-being. The Department works in partnership with other Government Departments and works in close collaboration with Warm Front to increase health sector referral rates for winter warmth interventions. The Keep Well, Keep Warm, campaign is a key aspect of the Department’s commitment to address fuel poverty and promote winter warmth.

The Keep Warm, Keep Well booklet, was made available from September 2007, to allow people to prepare for the colder weather. It was produced in a number of different formats including non-English language versions, braille, audio, large print and an accessible version for people with learning disabilities. The booklet was available in a variety of outlets, including general practitioners (GP) surgeries. All GP surgeries in England were sent a letter inviting them to order copies of the booklet from the DH Publications Orderline, which is managed by Professional Logistics Ltd. In addition, the booklet was distributed to 5,103 GP surgeries via the Waiting Room Information Service.

The total cost of publishing the booklet was £199,443 and the total cost of distribution was £197,498. As well as making the booklet available via national health service outlets, voluntary and commercial partners distributed the booklet for free.

Research to measure awareness of how to keep warm and well in winter and the help available was carried out in January. This included some evaluation of the booklet in terms of whether the target audience had seen a copy, but did not assess the efficacy of the distribution methods used.