There is an unprecedented risk of more deaths from cold in homes this winter, warns the National Health Service
The UK could face a “humanitarian crisis” involving health problems, excess deaths and rising inequality if the government does not take urgent action against rising energy bills, the Confederation of the National Health Service (NHS) warned on Friday.
The organization wrote to the finance minister, claiming that failure to act would add further pressure on already overburdened health services. According to the NHS, if energy bills become unaffordable, the country’s health and social care system will be left in the hands of “pick up the pieces.”
“The country is facing a humanitarian crisis. Many people could be faced with the terrible choice between skipping meals to heat their homes and having to live in cold, damp and very unpleasant conditions.” NHS chief Nadhim Zahawi wrote. “This, in turn, could lead to outbreaks of disease and illness across the country and increase health inequalities, worsen children’s life chances and leave an indelible scar on local communities.”
The cost of keeping Britons out of energy poverty revealed
The NHS highlighted that, as well as causing more disease, mass fuel poverty is also likely to “increase the already high number of annual deaths associated with cold homes.” He noted that the situation could also affect mental health.
“Health leaders are clear that unless the government takes urgent action, this will cause a public health emergency.” Zahawi emphasized.
The warning comes as energy bills for the average home in Britain are forecast to rise to more than £4,200 ($4,960) per year from January 2023 after the next peak price increase. Last October, it was set at £1,400 ($1,653).