New EU plans to encourage countries to cut energy use could cost the NHS millions, according to a group that speaks for the health service.
The NHS Confederation issued the warning ahead of a vote on the EU’s energy efficiency directive, taking place today, which aims to reduce Europe’s primary energy consumption by 20% by 2020.
The proposed EU rule puts emphasis on public sector bodies setting an example in lowering their energy consumption, demanding they make 3% of their floor space more efficient each year.
The NHS Confederation is worried this could spell £70million worth of work on hospital buildings that the health service can ill afford. The NHS is already struggling to make £20billion savings in the next four years.
Elisabetta Zanon, director of the NHS Confederation’s European Office, said: “These EU proposals are too rigid and top-heavy. They will create a real headache for organisations that are already trying to find sizeable savings. We really don’t want to find ourselves in a scenario where we have to divert money away from patient care to pay for costly building renovations.”