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Sunday 16th June 2019

Arctic blast sees heating bills soar in out-dated NHS building

21st December 2010

Hospitals struggling under increasing budget pressure face a rise in  energy bills of up to 30 per cent because of the arctic winter, energy analysts Saturn Energy said today.

Saturn Energy said that hospitals and health services operating in out-dated and poorly insulated buildings – and unable to move because of cutbacks in NHS building programmes – are wasting  millions of pounds on heating buildings, which could be spent on frontline care.

Managing Director John McShane said that a lack of energy efficiency measures in cold winters could cost individual hospitals up to £50,000 a year in increased bills.

As snow and ice sweeps the UK, Mr McShane said that the rising demand for power required to heat old buildings coupled with the lack of energy saving measures was a serious problem for the NHS.

He said: “Old, outdated health service buildings throughout the UK are subject to large energy waste on a daily basis due to the lack of energy efficiency and in the arctic conditions consumption can rise by as much as 30 per cent.  

“This energy waste obviously results in increased heating costs and in the current climate when energy prices have been increased by three of the Big Six suppliers, this can have a huge impact on the consumers.  

“Even a small nursing home could see bills rise by up to £1,000 a year so you can imagine the effect on our hospitals.”

Almost 20 per cent of the UK’s NHS buildings were built before the health service was formed in 1948 – and some wards date back to the 1700s. 

A host of major hospitals are among the worst affected along with mental health units and community hospitals and experts predict that the situation will get worse due to cuts in building budgets.

Mr McShane added: “The winter of 2009 saw a peak in the amount of energy required and this winter is set to see similar figures, with the trend continuing over the next few years.

“Until such time as the necessary investment is provided to make old buildings more energy efficient or replace them completely, consumers should look to reduce their costs as much as possible. 

“SME businesses are also affected and this highlights the need for large-scale energy users to invest in solutions, which may include large projects such as air source heat pumps or simply better insulation.”


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