NHS South Yorkshire has partnered with a Barnsley housing provider to improve the living conditions and health of children with asthma.

Asthma is the most common long-term medical condition in children in the UK, with around one in 11 children and young people living with asthma.

South Yorkshire Children and Young People’s Alliance have teamed up with Berneslai Homes, who manage properties for Barnsley Council, to ensure children and young people with asthma who live in a Berneslai Homes property, have the best possible health outcomes.

Respiratory nurses at Barnsley Hospital are working closely with Berneslai Homes to ensure the homes of asthma patients aren’t making their symptoms worse. For example, homes that don’t have adequate ventilation and heating can become damp and mouldy and make asthma, and other respiratory conditions, worse.

Zena Thomas, Children’s Respiratory Nurse Specialist at Barnsley Hospital, explains: “When we see children in our asthma clinics, or when they have been admitted to the children’s assessment unit or ward following an asthma attack, we discuss with the family any environmental triggers that could be contributing to the patient’s symptoms. These could be issues such as damp and mould in the home. We support the family to fill in the Berneslai Homes ‘Healthy Homes’ checklist which helps identify any issues in the home that could maybe make respiratory symptoms worse.

“Our new partnership also allows us to liaise with the service managers at Berneslai Homes directly, to help resolve specific issues in the home that are likely having a negative effect on the child’s respiratory health. These can then be dealt with urgently to prevent the child getting more unwell”.

It is hoped through this new partnership, children will have significantly fewer asthma symptoms, reducing the risk of a life-threatening asthma attack. This not only has a positive impact on the child’s health but can increase school attendance and ability to participate in sporting activities – things that are regularly inhibited by unmanaged asthma.

Dave Fullen, Executive Director of Customer and Estate Services from Berneslai homes added: "The right home environment is critical to good physical health and wellbeing. Good quality, safe housing helps everyone stay healthy. At Berneslai Homes we are pleased to be working closely with our colleagues at Barnsley Hospital to improve health outcomes for children and families in the homes we manage.”

Although this type of partnership is currently only in Barnsley, South Yorkshire Children and Young People’s Alliance are hoping to replicate this with the hospitals and housing providers in other areas across South Yorkshire.