Hospitals across the UK are facing a surge in electricity bills running into the millions as the cost of living crisis hits NHS trusts.
As household fuel bills soar to unprecedented levels, healthcare is also facing rising charges as a result of escalating cost pressures.
A survey of NHS trusts across England and Scotland shows they are facing increases of up to £29million in the three financial years to date.
Sharp increases in energy costs, driven by the end of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, among other things, are also hitting the NHS, according to figures obtained by Metro.co.uk on Freedom of Information Act requests.
In Nottingham, the combined cost of gas, electricity and oil increased from £8.8m in 2020 and 2021 to £15.8m the following year. The budget and thus the forecast for the current financial year is £37.9 million.
St George’s Trust in London, which runs one of the UK’s largest hospitals, is set to see gas and electricity bills rise from £4.2m between 2021 and 2022 to £6.2m over the current 12 months.
John Puntis, co-chair of Keep Our NHS Public, said: “The rise in fuel bills comes at a time when the NHS is already facing huge cost pressures.
“They will clearly end up taking money out of patients’ budgets and with the restructuring towards integrated systems of care that began in July last year the NHS is already starting with a £4billion deficit.
“Basically, this is because hospitals have to keep spending money on patient care, no matter how much money comes in, as they try to improve services while saving money.
“If you’re trying to save during a deficit and in a new regime with even tighter funding controls, anything that gets in the way of new cost pressures will only make things worse and can only lead to cuts.
“The NHS is really struggling but not because of inefficiencies but because of workload and Covid pressures and chronic underfunding.
“We call for the NHS to be funded on par with comparable European countries as demand for its services continues to rise.”
Figures from the NHS Trusts show the growing scale of spending as gas and electricity prices continue to climb to record levels.
At Barts Health, the largest trust in London, the combined cost of gas and electricity rose from £14.3m between 2020 and 2021 to £18.7m the following year. Expenses are expected to rise to £34.8m in the current financial year – an increase of 86%
In Birmingham, charges increased from £9.5m for electricity and £4.5m for gas in 2020 and 2021 to £11.5m and £5m respectively in the following financial year. The University Hospitals Trust said projections have been made for the next financial year but the “budget is not yet finalized so we cannot comment further on this issue”.
In Bedfordshire, electricity costs in 2021 and 2022 were £3.7m and gas costs £1.5m. The budget has increased to £4.7m and £2.4m respectively for the current financial year. The trust, which runs Bedford and Luton hospitals, is due to carry out a forecast this summer
At Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals in London, the figure for 2021-2022 was £4.6million on gas and electricity. The figure, provided by the governing Guy’s and St Thomas’s Trust, reflects an increase of almost £300,000 on last year. The trust did not make a forecast for the current financial year, the figures are “not yet available”.
Increases were also recorded at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and Royal Berkshire NHS Trusts.
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At Derby and Burton, combined electricity and gas costs increased from £8.2m between 2020 and 2021 to £9.9m the following year.
The bill is set to increase to £10.5m over the next 12 months.
dr Magnus Harrison, interim CEO of University Hospitals of Derby and Burton (UHDB), said: “Reducing costs remains a priority for UHDB and we are always looking for smart and efficient ways of working to ensure we have a providing exceptional care patients deserve, in the most environmentally friendly and cost-effective way possible.’
In Scotland, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have had to pay an increase in gas and electricity bills from £28.5m between 2020 and 2021 to £29.1m in the next financial year.
Of 10 NHS trusts that provided responses, Newcastle and Manchester did not provide comparable or forecast data. Metro.co.uk has contacted both bodies for further information.
According to NHS Digital, the total cost of running the property in England rose to £10.2 billion between 2020 and 2021, a 4.8% increase over the previous 12 months.
A separate report from Zenergi Energy Management paints a bleak outlook, suggesting energy costs alone could skyrocket to £1.2bn in the current fiscal year.
The customer service provider identified features preventing savings such as: B. Hospitals in different locations, with multiple supplier contracts and a mix of modern and Victorian buildings.
In response to Mr Puntis, a government spokesman said: “We recognize the pressure people are facing as the cost of living increases and we are taking action to support households – by providing additional support this year to eight million of the most vulnerable households, namely all domestic electricity customers receive at least £400.
“We are investing a record £39billion in health and care services over the next three years to help clear the Covid residue, establishing surgical centers and community diagnostic centres, over 90 of which are already open and delivering over a million additional checks to have .’
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/07/03/soaring-fuel-bills-add-to-to-dire-cost-pressures-facing-nhs-16921640/ Soaring fuel bills are contributing to the 'gloomy' cost pressures facing the NHS