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Tackling the health impact of rising costs of living

At the September meeting of the Integrated Care Board (ICB) we discussed the cost-of-living crisis. The board recognises that this crisis poses risk for Humber and North Yorkshire, for our communities, for our staff and for the health and wellbeing of those we serve. In particular, the most vulnerable.

The Poverty rate in Yorkshire and the Humber is 24%1

NHS and system ‘pressures’ are known and understood by most. The cost-of-living crisis adds to the list of pressures we collectively face delivering health and care services into the winter months.

  • Children growing up in cold homes have more respiratory and psychological problems than children growing up in a warm house.2
  • Nine-in-10 community pharmacists say they have patients who go without prescription medicines because of price.3
  • In April, 7.3 million adults lived in households that said they had gone without food or could not physically get it in the past month.4
  • Stress, anxiety and worry have a well-established link to poor mental health.
  • Nearly 75% of households, which include a person with a disability, have fallen into debt this year.5
  • 18 million families are likely to be in fuel poverty by January 2023.6

Many partners contributed to the paper, used as a basis for discussion at board, with actions shared. While no actions are mandatory, it was the board’s view that sharing initiatives and actions would be helpful for all partners, either as a discussion point for leadership teams or a practical checklist of possibilities.

As the ICB, we have also identified a range of specific actions, including those relating to supporting our coastal communities, developing and supporting our workforce, creating an evidence base by working with university research partners and accelerating our approach to social prescribing.

Sharing initiatives and sharing actions as partners could enable a coordinated, Integrated Care System-wide approach to supporting our population during the most challenging season. We know poverty has a direct impact on both physical and mental health.

Sue Symington

Chair of the NHS Humber and North Yorkshire Integrated Care Board and Chair of the Humber and North Yorkshire Integrated Care Partnership


  1. Joseph Rowntree Foundation, UK Poverty 2022: The essential guide to understanding poverty in the UK
  2. The Institute of Health Equality – The Health Impacts of Cold Homes and Fuel Poverty
  3. National Pharmacy Association
  4. The Food Foundation
  5. Sense
  6. NHS Confederation