NHS faces ‘double whammy’ as energy crisis bites

Health service leaders are pressing for extra government support, as the NHS faces up to the two-pronged impact of a looming energy crisis: rising demand from patients hit by the ‘heat or eat’ effects of fuel poverty, and rocketing costs from suppliers.

The likely impact of the government’s current stance on raising the energy price cap for consumers prompted Sam Allen, chief executive of the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board, to write to regulator Ofgem last week. 

In her letter Allen expresses concern that energy supplies being cut would be “life-threatening” for many clinically vulnerable people, and put added pressure on a health sector that – in the words of NHS Confederation chief executive Matthew Taylor – is already “likely to experience the most difficult winter on record”. 

“[We] are starting to see examples where clinically vulnerable people have been disconnected from their home energy supply, which has then led to a hospital admission,” Allen says. “This is impacting on people who live independently at home, with the support from our community health services team, and are reliant on using electric devices for survival.

“Put simply, the impact of having their energy supply terminated will be life-threatening for some people, as well as placing additional demands on already stretched health and social care services.”

And last week saw similar initiatives to Allen’s launched across the health sector, all calling on the government to take urgent action.

Full article in The Lowdown, 6 September 2022