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NHS wastes millions each year on utilities

The NHS in England could have saved £41.4m by simply paying the average tariff for energy and water

Ingrid Torjesen

Thursday, 21 November 2013

The NHS is paying millions more than it needs to for utilities such as gas and water, an analysis by the TaxPayers’ Alliance has revealed.

The analysis reveals that the NHS in England spent more than £630 million on energy and £80 million on water 2012-13. By just ensuring that they paid the average tariff, those NHS sites in England which overpaid for their water and energy could have saved at least £41.4 million. Potential energy savings account for £37.8 million of that £41.4 million total and potential savings in water costs accounted for £3.6 million.

Several hospitals, including Peterborough City Hospital, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Eastbourne District General Hospital and Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, paid in excess of £1 million above what they needed to for their energy.

Another 19 sites could have saved over £500,000 on energy, an additional 40 over £250,000, and a further 74 sites more than £100,000.

In terms of water, six NHS sites could have saved over £100,000 - The Royal London, Cumberland Infirmary, University Hospital of North Staffordshire’s Royal Infirmary, St Bartholomew’s Hospital, Ashworth Hospital and Peterborough City Hospital.

Peterborough City Hospital has the most to gain from reviewing its water and energy suppliers. It was in the top three most wasteful sites for both water and energy. It paid four times the average rate for energy and five times the average rate for water.

On the other hand, some trusts saved millions by paying substantially less than the average rates. Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust’s Royal Liverpool Hospital, a site with amongst the highest energy consumption in England, would have spent £4.6 million more on energy had they paid the average rate. Meanwhile 2gether NHS Foundation Trust’s Wotton Lawn site would have paid almost £1.9 million more for their water if it had paid the average rate for the South West

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “People pay a lot of money to support the NHS in their taxes and they expect to see every penny possible spent on front line care, not wasted overpaying for basics like energy and water.

“Before trusts complain about pressure on their finances now that the bumper increases in funding have dried up, they should take these kinds of opportunities to secure better value for money they need to shop around for a better deal.”

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