Energy bills in NHS Scotland to rocket by £70 million

Energy bills in Scotland's NHS are set to rocket by £70 million, it has emerged.

The health service confirmed its gas costs are projected to rise by £61m this financial year, while its electricity costs will increase by more than £10m.

It said the figures could vary “depending on how harsh or mild the coming winter is”.

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Scottish Conservative health spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane, who is a practising GP, called the costs “absolutely eye-watering for our NHS".

Picture: PA
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He said: “There is a real risk that these costs won’t be able to be absorbed by many GP practices who are already struggling, as well as dental practices who are on a cliff-edge.

“That knock-on effect could be devastating for patients, especially in our most deprived areas who may suddenly find that they cannot easily access dental or GP care on their own doorstep.

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“Our health service is not immune to the rising energy costs, but this cannot be to the detriment of suffering patients and staff working in the NHS.”

Families face a grim winter as experts predict the cap on energy bills will hit close to £3,600 per year from October, before rising again next year.

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Health leaders have raised concerns widespread fuel poverty will increase the high number of annual deaths associated with cold homes – estimated at 10,000 – and add pressure to an already overwhelmed health service.

Caitlin Hamlett, head of climate change and sustainability at NHS Scotland Assure, which is part of NHS National Services Scotland, said: “The cost of gas for NHS Scotland is projected to rise this financial year from just over £35m last year to around £96m.

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"Electricity is likely to rise by just over £10m from £72.3m to £82.3m.

"However, these figures could vary depending on how harsh or mild the coming winter is.

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"The recently published NHS Climate Emergency and Sustainability Strategy will support NHS Scotland to implement energy efficiency measures and generation of on-site renewable electricity.

"The Scottish Government’s Green Public Sector Estate Decarbonisation scheme is also providing investment of at least £200m between 2021 and 2026 to increase public sector energy efficiency and fund decarbonisation to reduce emissions and energy costs.”

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