Hospitals face ‘eye-watering’ £2m rise in monthly energy bills

·2-min read
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children said it had anticipated a £650k bill for next year (File picture)   (PA Archive)
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children said it had anticipated a £650k bill for next year (File picture) (PA Archive)

Hospitals in England face an “eye-watering” rise in energy bills of £2 million a month due to the fuel price surge, a new paper has warned.

The report, published in the British Medical Journal, found some NHS trusts are expecting an increase of 200 per cent in their combined gas and electricity bills next year.

London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital said it anticipated a combined gas and electricity bill of around £650,000 a month in January and February 2023 – nearly double the £350,000 it paid in the same months this year.

And Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust told the journal it was expecting to pay an extra £2 million a month for electricity and gas in January and February 2023 compared with the same months this year.

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust said it has budgeted for a 214 per cent increase in electricity and gas costs for 2022/23.

Hospitals and businesses are more vulnerable to higher energy price rises than domestic customers as they are not limited by Ofgem’s price cap, which is rising by 80 per cent in October. More than half (54 per cent) of small firms fear their running costs could force them to close next year, according to a report by SME Insights released last week.

Health leaders warned that patient care could be compromised without intervention from the Government to protect the health service from price rises.

Rory Deighton, of 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 new prime minister must provide a top-up in this autumn’s budget or any emergency budget they hold to make up the shortfall.

“The NHS needs at least £4 billion to make up for inflation during this year alone, and that is before we face a winter of even higher wholesale energy prices.”

Saffron Cordery, interim chief executive at NHS Providers, warned that the rise in energy costs meant that “vital resources” were being diverted from frontline care at a time of “unprecedented” operational pressure.