Hospitals to spend millions on crippling energy costs this winter

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The NHS has to pay millions on rising energy bills for hospitals, with fees doubling next year.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is set to pay an additional £2m per month in January and February next year, according to an investigation published in British Medical Journal.

The report shows hospitals have warned their energy bills will double in the winter, eating into budgets for frontline workers and patient care.

Earlier this year NHS leaders warned that the rate of inflation was “wiping away” a large part of the NHS budget, while research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies suggested the sector should be given at least a surplus this year alone. £3.4 billion would be required. Loss.

In May this year, NHS England estimated that rising energy prices would cost the NHS an additional £485m.

according to bmj’s According to the report, NHS England has set aside £1.5bn from its budget this year to tackle energy costs, fuel costs for ambulance services, increased private finance initiative contracts and local authority care costs.

John Williams, Executive Director of Finance and Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust told The. told bmj “Unfortunately our electricity and gas costs have increased significantly in recent months, as it has for home users and other businesses, and are likely to continue to increase significantly in the future.”

The trust has been able to reduce its costs to some extent as it is locked in with its energy supplier at current prices till March 31, 2023. “We budgeted for additional costs as part of our plan for 2022-23, but ultimately this is still NHS resources that could otherwise have been used to support the delivery of patient care,” Williams said .

Rory Deaton, Acute Care Senior Program Lead at the NHS Confederation, said: “This is not an abstract problem, as the gap in funding from rising inflation would require fewer staff to be employed, longer wait times for care, or patient care. cuts are being made in other areas.

“The new prime minister should provide a top-up to make up for the shortfall in this autumn budget or any emergency budget. The NHS needs at least £3.4bn for inflation during this year alone, and that is before we face the winter of even higher wholesale energy prices.

“Failure to properly compensate the NHS for inflation will only increase the pressure on our healthcare as we head towards a winter that we know will be particularly challenging this year.”

news comes later independent It was revealed last week that the NHS could risk losing thousands of community health workers over rising fuel costs.

Since reimbursement rates set by the government do not fully cover the cost of petrol for community nurses, who depend on cars to see patients, some trusts have had to bear the cost themselves.

Earlier this month NHS leaders issued a warning to the government that rising energy prices were set to put pressure on the NHS and social care as patients were becoming more sick.

In a letter to the chancellor, the NHS Confederation said the NHS spends £1.3bn each year treating preventable conditions caused by cold and damp homes.

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