NHS efficiency schemes set to save £13.7m a year on hospital energy bills

Government announces 70 carbon-cutting schemes across NHS trusts

Seventy hospitals will receive a slice of a £50m fund to cut the NHS energy bill.

Health Minister, Dr Dan Poulter, has announced a number of schemes across the country which will reduce the NHS energy bill by up to £13.7m per year.

Our NHS is one of the largest users of energy in the country and, just like the rest of us, hospitals should be doing everything they can to reduce the amount they spend

As well as helping to cut carbon emissions and save the environment, all the money saved in energy bills will be redirected to frontline patient care.

The expected saving of £13.7m a year is enough to pay for 18,500 cataract operations or 2,300 hip replacements.

As well as financial saving, these schemes will save almost 200 million kilowatts in energy consumption and reduce CO2 emissions up to 5.6 million tonnes a year.

The winning schemes include:

  • Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust have been given £525,000 for electric cars, new conferencing equipment and a more-efficient appointments system, set to reduce staff travel by 750,000 miles a year. This will save up to £326,069 a year
  • Addenbrookes Hospital have been given £58,618 to remove and replace insulation for boilers and pipes, to reduce wasted heat energy and help them to better control temperatures. This will save up to £61,163 a year
  • St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals have been given £22,094 to install a new system to automatically shut down idle and inactive computers. This will save up to £57,000 a year

Health Minister, Dr Dan Poulter, said: “This summer I launched the procurement roadmap showing how our NHS could be run more efficiently and how we could reduce the running costs of NHS buildings and estates. These energy efficiency schemes will help our NHS to make £13.7m of savings each and every year.

“Winter is fast approaching and we are all looking at ways to reduce our energy bills while keeping our homes warm and well lit. Our NHS is one of the largest users of energy in the country and, just like the rest of us, hospitals should be doing everything they can to reduce the amount they spend.

“These schemes demonstrate the easy ways our NHS can make improvements to help power hospitals more efficiently, save on energy bills, and reduce their carbon emissions. Money saved will be reinvested directly in to patient care.”

These schemes demonstrate the easy ways our NHS can make improvements to help power hospitals more efficiently, save on energy bills, and reduce their carbon emissions

As well as saving on energy waste and energy bills, the £50m will help support local businesses. Hospital trusts have used local tradespeople, like plumbers and electricians, to do work like replacing old and insufficient heating and lighting systems. This means the money has helped boost local business, as well as the UK economy.

The NHS spends approximately £600mi a year on energy. Hospitals run a 24-hour-a-day, 365-days-a-year service and it takes a huge amount of energy to power lifesaving equipment such as intensive care beds and operating theatres.

Case studies

Cornwall Partnership NHS Trust has received funding for three projects expected to save the organisation 725,000 miles in travel and £326,069 a year.

Based over 1,376 square miles, the trust covers a large geographical area and is aiming to make efficiencies in staff travel. It has introduced a new scheduling system, which will enable staff to plan their workloads in the most-efficient way, so patients continue to be seen by the right professionals and reducing the time clinical staff spend travelling. In addition the trust has invested in electric vehicles, reducing CO2 emissions and money spent on fuel. Finally, it has upgraded video conferencing equipment to reduce staff travel, improving staff efficiency and reduce energy waste.

Meanwhile, Addenbrookes Hospital is removing and replacing the insulation for boilers and pipes. This will reduce the heat energy lost through insufficient insulation and enable them to better control temperatures, which are prone to overheating. The scheme has had an investment of £58,618 and is predicted to save £61,163 a year in energy bills, which will be reinvested in to patient care. It is expected this will save over 1,500 tonnes of CO2 a year.

And St Helens and Knowsley NHS Teaching Hospitals is implementing a new system to automatically shut down computers that have been left unused for over 15 minutes. The system also included the option to customise computer shut down – such as setting all admin computers to shut down out of working hours. This programme has been awarded £22,094 and is expected to save £57,508 a year.

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