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Exclusive: Hospitals will be hit with “eye watering” energy bills this winter

BMJ 2022; 378 doi: (Published 31 August 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;378:o2088
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. The BMJ

Some NHS trusts will have to find as much as £2m extra a month this winter because their energy bills will be two to three times higher than last year’s, an investigation by The BMJ has found.

Higher than expected inflation, including rising costs for gas and electricity, is “wiping out large parts of the NHS budget,” said the NHS Confederation, the body that represents NHS organisations. It told The BMJ that, unless the government protects trusts from “eye watering wholesale market increases” in energy, trusts will have no choice but to cut back on patient services.

Rory Deighton, senior acute lead at the NHS Confederation, told The BMJ, “This isn’t an abstract problem, as the gap in funding from rising inflation will either have to be made up by fewer staff being employed, longer waiting times for care, or other areas of patient care being cut back.”

The BMJ asked a number of NHS trusts in England for details of their recent and predicted future energy bills and how they expected to mitigate the additional energy charges they face this winter.

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust has budgeted for a 214% increase in electricity and gas costs for 2022-23. Marcus Pratt, programme director for system finance at NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, said, “Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust have planned for, and continue to forecast, an increase in budget for annual energy costs of approximately £27m compared to costs experienced in 2021-22. For Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the equivalent value is approximately £5m.”

Similarly, Craige Richardson, director of estates and facilities at Leeds Teaching …

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