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Energy costs risk humanitarian crisis, says NHS leaders

Rising numbers of people will fall sick and see their health worsen unless the government takes further action to limit energy price rises, the NHS says.

The NHS Confederation said the UK was facing a "humanitarian crisis". The group, which represents health bosses, said many people would face the awful choice between skipping meals to heat their homes or having to live in cold and damp conditions.

But ministers said action was already being taken and the NHS supported. This includes £400 payments to every household this autumn to help pay energy bills.

However, in a letter to ministers, NHS leaders said that rapidly rising energy prices, along with other cost-of-living pressures, will still leave individuals and families facing impossible choices.

They warn that if people are forced to live in cold homes and cannot afford nutritious food, then their health will quickly deteriorate and the NHS will be left to pick up the pieces.

Cold conditions can lead to a rise in respiratory conditions, and in older people can also increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes and falls.

Cold homes are already linked to 10,000 deaths a year, the NHS Confederation said.

The group warned the risk of ill-health linked to the energy crisis would come on top of what many expect to be one of the toughest winters on record because of the combination of flu, norovirus and Covid outbreaks.

As well as leading to more sickness and illness, the NHS Confederation said it would also have a major impact on mental health and well-being.

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Source: BBC News, 20 August 2022


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