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English hospitals make emergency plans amid winter power loss fears

English hospitals have increased emergency fuel supplies and put staff on standby to postpone operations and switch off X-ray scanners amid heightened concerns over energy provision this winter.

NHS hospital trusts across England have put their power plans under the microscope as they look to protect patients from potential outages for lifesaving equipment.

Responses to freedom of information requests to 63 NHS trusts revealed that 41 are re-examining their plans for a loss of power for this winter. A further 10 trusts said they conducted routine reviews of their business continuity plans this year, while 12 had not revised their strategies.

National Grid warned in October that, in extreme circumstances, it would be forced to enact planned three-hour power cuts with a days’ notice.

Major hospitals are exempt from this system, called rota disconnection, however businesses and the government have studied their plans for a complete power failure on the network.

Despite the pressure on the NHS budgets, the responses show that most hospitals have up-to-date plans and backup generators to ensure lives are not lost due to lack of power.

A quarter of hospital trusts said they were able to run indefinitely on backup diesel generator power, providing they had access to fuel supplies. Just over 10% said they could run on backup power for 10 days.

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Source: The Guardian, 12 December 2022


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