NHS trialing “heating prescriptions”

A few weeks ago we wrote about the impact of the rising cost of living and its impact on disabled people.

As we enter the festive and winter period, now more than ever disabled people are facing an energy crisis with many feeling the impact of costs increasing rapidly.  A recent article by the Guardian looked at the news that the NHS is running a trial on “heating prescriptions”. As a means of helping those who cannot afford soaring prices on their bills. The reality is that many disabled people rely upon equipment, such as ventilators, wheelchairs and feeding tube pumps. With others needing heating to prevent joint pain and stiffness and breathing problems.  Disabled children can’t afford to use their ventilators this winter. Politicians need to face reality | Frances Ryan | The Guardian

The trial run by the NHS was piloted in the homes of 28 low-income patients as a preventative measure to avoid the cost of hospital care to assist with any health-related problems worsening. The result of the trial has led to the scheme being expanded to 1,150 homes.

When the BBC reported on this scheme they spoke to Michelle Davis, who has arthritis and serious pulmonary illness, had her energy bills paid for and said the difference was “mind-blowing”.

Research has shown that cold homes cost the NHS £860m a year. However, this data was collected before the current cost of living crisis.

Organisations like Greenpeace have drawn attention to the historic and ongoing cost of energy disabled people have lived with for years. Highlighting the work of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), who have campaigned for the government to address this issue before the now. In an article on the Greenpeace website, DPAC  says that The cumulative effects of government’s cuts, austerity, welfare reforms, sanctions and privatisations “have pushed millions of people into poverty and into a cost-of-living crisis for the past 12 years. And has claimed tens of thousands of lives every single year”.
Taken from: For disabled people, the cost of living crisis is nothing new | Greenpeace UK

The government has responded to the rising energy costs by capping process, however, this still means that the typical household will pay around £3,000. Although this does not account for the additional costs associated with health-related care that many disabled people face day to day, which are closely linked to energy prices.

Charities like Sense have put together details on where to go if you need help with your energy bills. This can be found here: Help with energy and food costs for disabled people  – Sense

Chandy Green
Chandy Green

Chandy is a disability and mental health campaigner with a passion for helping people know more about disability rights and how to be an ally for disabled people. He has a degree in social work and has just finished his MA in human rights. Chandy works with various organisations to help educate students in health, social care, and related professions to understand the social model of disability. As well as being our advocate, Chandy is heavily involved in the content creation for Social Media.

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