Kevin Cox explains why the NHS and other public bodies must make energy efficiency savings to release more funds for over-stretched ‘front-line’ services.
While uncertainty about Brexit dominates the political landscape, causing equal amounts of anxiety and expectation in the public at large, other aspects of public life continue to loom large. In particular is the perennial strain on the NHS budget and stress on its staff and patients.
In its recent survey findings of respondents in England, released in September 2017, The Kings Fund found that despite the “significant challenges faced by the NHS, it continues to enjoy unwavering support among the public which endures across the generations.”
Indeed 77% of the public believes the NHS should be maintained in its current form; around 90% of people support the founding principles of the NHS and 66% are willing to pay more of their own taxes to fund the NHS, underlining growing support among the public for tax rises to increase NHS funding.
“We’re not here to comment on the political aspects of the findings of The King’s Fund and IPSOS Mori survey or to call for increased taxation to support the NHS,” comments Kevin Cox, Managing Director of Energys Group. “However, we are calling on the NHS facilities managers, energy managers and Trust chiefs to take the lead in making their estates more energy efficient, and return the savings to where there is the most need – patient care.
“There is no argument from us that staff at the NHS do crucial work, whether on the front-line caring for, transporting and supporting patients directly, or in the critical, unseen and unheralded back-room services, such as administration, maintenance, HR and finance.”
The recently released third annual Impact Report released by the independent NHS Sustainability Campaign highlights the work that is being done by individual trusts to develop low-carbon measures and make considerable savings. For example the North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust expects to save around £1.2m each year thanks to a carbon management plan.
Kevin Cox applauds the work being done by Trusts to develop low-carbon measures: “But there is more to be done to ensure that those who work in this 24-hour, 365 days a year service, are not paying the price for their care, in poor working conditions, inefficient buildings and at increased risk to their own health and wellbeing. The NHS needs to look after itself in order that it can look after the public.”
Energys Group will be launching a year-long campaign to help the NHS achieve estate-wide cost savings that will have a significant effect on productivity, staff wellbeing and ultimately, enable savings that will benefit patient care.