A Scottish NHS health board will step in to help pay the energy bills of vulnerable people with respiratory conditions.
Hundreds in Aberdeen will receive support grants as part of a new trial by NHS Grampian.
The health service is working with local energy charity SCARF and energy support hub Energy Systems Catapult to offer more than 300 vulnerable patients support to keep their homes warm this winter as part of the Warm Homes Aberdeen scheme.
The trial is taking place in three locations across the UK – Aberdeen, London, and Tees Valley – and involves health boards identifying people most at risk from a cold home due to a pre-existing respiratory condition and who are also struggling to pay their energy bills.
The pilot will be funded by not-for-profit energy innovation hub Energy Systems Catapult.
Prof Shantini Paranjothy, Consultant in Public Health at the University of Aberdeen, said: “We have identified 330 people in Aberdeen to be part of this trial.
“They are all individuals with respiratory conditions, for whom being in a cold home could have serious consequences. We have written to them all to offer this support and would strongly encourage them to take up the offer.
“This is a limited trial this year, focused on Aberdeen and the 330 people we have identified, along with the two other trial areas in London and Tees Valley. We are pleased to be part of the trial and look forward to seeing the results.”
David Mackay, SCARF co-CEO, said: “Once one of our advisors speaks to an individual and outlines the programme, we will aim to have money into their energy accounts, within a fortnight, to ensure they can keep their bedroom and main living area heated to between 18-21°C throughout the winter.
“Participants will be sent thermometers to help them measure how warm their home is, and temperature recorders which will be returned to us at the end of March 2023. This helps us ensure we have paid for the correct amount of fuel.”
The trial is by invitation only and it is not possible for individuals to request to take part.
Anyone who receives a letter and requires more information should call the NHS Grampian switchboard on 0345 456 6000 and ask to be put through to Healthline.