Throw another sod on the fire, Maggie
Summer may be round the corner but in this cost-of-living crisis domestic fuel bills remain one of the most significant challenges facing household finances, and for some the consequences of that could literally make them ill.
To help ease the issues that fuel poverty may bring, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has launched a Home Energy Crisis Response Service for patients receiving care in Acute and Mental Health services.
The service, which is being funded by the NHSGGC Endowments Committee and delivered in partnership with Money Matters Money Advice Centre in Glasgow, identifies patients who need help with home energy costs so that they can return home safely from a hospital stay without the worry of the additional health consequences of living in a cold, damp home.
And as well as helping with the physical and mental well-being of patients, the service also helps people to get home more quickly, freeing up much-needed beds and contributing to improved patient flow through hospitals across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
The service can tackle immediate energy emergencies, advocate on behalf of patients with energy providers and help with access to external home energy emergency funds.
Staff are encouraged to refer patients to the service if they feel they need help via their Hospital Support & Information Services who will be also be able to offer a wide range of wrap-around practical and emotional support for patients and carers including food on discharge packages.
Early feedback has been very positive. One former patient, who will remain anonymous to protect patient confidentiality, said: “Energy service helped me with my bills, helped my stress as well. Brilliant service. Thank you.”
Another said: “Needed help to top up gas meter as it’s been so expensive. I am so grateful for the help of this service.”
Anna Baxendale, Head of Health Improvement at NHSGGC, said: “Fuel bills are a huge challenge for all of us at the moment, but for some patients fuel poverty is such a significant issue that when there is no power on at home we cannot allow them home, even if they are ready for discharge.
“That is why this new service is so important. As well as addressing the physical and psychological needs of patients, it allows us to get patients home more quickly if they are ready to do so.
“I would like to thank all staff who have referred patients to the service, and encourage everyone within NHSGGC to make use of it if they feel a patient could benefit from our help on discharge.”
Geraldine Cotter, Chief Executive Officer of Money Matters Money Advice Centre, said: “Money Matters are delighted to be part of this innovative project that has come at a crucial time with the energy crisis. We want patients to focus on their recovery rather than worrying about their energy issues. The assistance our advisers are providing to patients and their families is invaluable and will help alleviate energy crisis situations”.
“I would like to thank Money Matters for all your help and support during this stressful time in my life. Thanks especially to Stephanie, who contacted the electric company and eased some of my anxiety regarding this. Thanks again for all your support. It was really appreciated.”
“I was so worried that my meter would have ran out of money whilst I was in hospital. I am so grateful that someone is sorting this out for me as I’m not good at dealing with these things.”
:: To access NHSGGC Hospital Support and Information services, go to www.nhsggc.scot/support-and-information-service
Bottom picture: A turf stack in Connemara, where fuel comes from the bogs. Top picture: A coalman delivering much cheaper fuel to houses in Dumbarton East.
Funny old world really. Scotland blessed with a surfeit of oil, gas, hydro and wind power and the people go cold through fuel poverty whilst the corporates power companies make hundreds of billions in profit.
In fact due to the war Russia energy company profits are soaring so much that the Ukraine is demanding a share of these profits for creating the circumstances that has allowed so much profit to be made.
It just goes to show how money is made through wars. And that will probably be why the big one is coming as come it will, and within the next few years according to the UK Defence Minister Ben Wallace who said Britain would be at war before the end of the decade.
Putting the Great back into Britain it’s good to know that you have God and Right on your side and that the sacrifice will be worth it. Well if you are a corporate profiteer that is is. Batten down the hatches folks. Nuclear or other attack mobile phone warning to be broadcast to all mobile phones in UK this Sunday 23rd May 2023 at 3.00pm.