Researchers evaluated the Warm Homes Prescription programme which provided financial support to help participants heat their homes to a healthy temperature over winter.
They also found ‘emerging evidence’ that participants were less likely to visit their GP and may need fewer prescriptions or out of hours services.
The study, commissioned by Energy Systems Catapult who run the programme and funded by BP, evaluated the impact of the prescription for over 800 recipients in England and Scotland. It found that after receiving support, most residents heated their homes to the recommended 18-21 degrees Celsius consistently throughout winter.
In addition, the majority of recipients reported worrying less about finances, feeling more positive, and spending more time comfortably in their own homes. Many also said their physical and mental health had improved since being able to keep comfortably warm.
Deputy Director of the Centre of Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam Ian Wilson, who co-authored the study, said: "Our research shows the Warm Home Prescription can make a real difference to those at risk from living in a cold home.
"By helping people heat their homes, it improved quality of life and reduced health risks.
"There is early indication the program may lead to healthcare savings by preventing cold-related illnesses.”
The study also found emerging evidence that prescription recipients had lower use of NHS services like GP appointments and prescriptions compared to similar vulnerable groups over winter.
The average cost of delivering the prescription was approximately £1000 per household. Researchers said this represents good value, with analysis indicating a social return on investment of around £5 for every £1 spent.
The report concludes that the prescription shows potential as an effective form of support for vulnerable groups unable to afford adequate heating. Researchers recommend additional testing and evaluation to further validate the positive impacts.