It is highly unusual for NHS leaders to comment on energy prices. But so great is the concern that the NHS Confederation, on behalf of NHS leaders across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi.
In the letter, the leaders call for limits to energy price rises and for targeted support to be made available for individuals and families that are most in need.
The NHS leaders also say that rapidly rising energy costs, alongside other cost of living pressures, will leave individuals and families across the UK facing impossible choices – such having to choose between heating their homes or spending money on food and essentials. They warn that if people are forced to live in cold homes and cannot afford nutritious food, their health will quickly deteriorate.
NHS leaders are very concerned that widespread fuel poverty will increase the already high number of deaths associated with cold homes – which is estimated at 10,000 a year.
They also warn that a failure to restrict energy price hikes will increase demand on already pressured health and social care services.
Matthew Taylor, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: ‘The country is facing a humanitarian crisis. Health leaders are clear that unless urgent action is taken by the government this will cause a public health emergency.’
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