Vulnerable people admitted to hospital after their energy is cut off, NHS chief warns

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The NHS chief told the energy regulator that patients were being hospitalized after gas and electricity were cut off.

The health boss has asked the national regulator for the gas and electricity markets to reconsider the policy of disconnecting supply because it will “save lives” this winter.

In an unprecedented move, Samantha Allen, the chief executive of the NHS in the North East and Cumbria, has hit out at the Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets (Offgame) for disconnecting energy supplies for vulnerable patients.

In a letter to Offgame published on Friday, she said she has “grave concern” for clinically vulnerable patients who are cutting their electricity and gas after not paying.

The news comes as the government has faced sharp criticism by NHS leaders over its failures to address the cost of living crisis.

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The letter said: “It has emerged that we are beginning to see instances where medically vulnerable people have been cut off from their household energy supply, leading to hospitalisation.

“It’s impacting people who live independently at home, with the support of our community healthcare team, and rely on using electrical appliances to survive.”

An example she gave for people at risk are patients who need to access oxygen at home as well as a concern for people with mental health needs who find themselves without energy supplies. can.

Ms. Allen said: “It is my understanding that people who are deemed medically vulnerable may not have their energy supply turned off. Based on some examples, along with our exposure to many medically vulnerable people, It is clear that significant concern exists in our communities.

“Simply put, the effect of running out of their energy supplies would be life-threatening for some. All of this would place additional demands on health and social care services that are already stretched.”

The chief executive warned that the increased demand would limit the ability of the NHS to provide treatment to patients.

letter, first reported by health service journalAsks OFGEM to ensure that the clinically vulnerable patient lists maintained by them are updated frequently.

It also asked the regulator to develop a “fail-safe” system so that new patients can be added to these lists immediately and a senior official responsible for acting as lead for the NHS within each energy company.

The letter concluded: “Ultimately, as energy prices rise, we are all conscious of the impact on those who cannot afford to pay for their energy. This is a matter of grave concern to all, I am sure. , especially given the evidence relating to more cold deaths and serious illnesses as a result of cold weather.

“Therefore, I ask you to reconsider the disconnection policy for all energy companies and to reflect on the place within the water industry where domestic supply cannot be disconnected. In doing so, I believe it will help people His life will be saved.”

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