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Cost of living: Soaring bills damaging people's health, say medics

Rises in the cost of living are already having a negative impact of people's health, health professionals warn.

BBC News has been told of people skipping meals or cutting back on medication, because of money worries.

The Royal College of Nursing says people are having to make heart-wrenching choices that compromise their health and wellbeing. Along with GPs and hospital doctors, they warn health inequalities between rich and poor risk becoming worse.

Laura Brant, 28, has already had to make some tough choices about a treatment keeping her alive.

Having lived with kidney disease since the age of seven, she has already had two kidney transplants - and now needs another.

Laura is dependent on a dialysis machine to carry out the filtering process usually performed by the kidneys. Without it, she could be dead in a week.

Laura was having dialysis at home - but the machine used so much electricity and water the bills started to mount rapidly.

"I'd say that it's the straw that broke the camel's back, really, with the cost of running the dialysis machine, the water it uses, the electric," she says.

"And it was adding to my anxiety, like, 'How am I going to pay to do this treatment every month?'"

Royal College of Physicians president Dr Andrew Goddard says some of his respiratory-medicine colleagues are hearing of patients choosing to turn off oxygen supplies to save money.

"Respiratory disease disproportionately affects those least able to afford to improve their social circumstances," he says.

"It seems likely the cost of living crisis will widen this disparity further."

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Source: BBC News, 9 June 2022


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