Cost of living crisis affects NHS and damages people's physical and mental health

17 June 2022

Responding to new surveys about the impact of the cost of living crisis, the interim chief executive of NHS Providers Saffron Cordery said:

"Like so many people, the NHS and its staff are being hit hard by rising prices and bills while the cost of living crisis damages people's physical and mental health too.

"NHS services face rising fuel and energy bills and trust leaders are working hard to find savings and efficiency measures to ensure taxpayers get value for money.

"With petrol having hit record highs, for example, it costs much more to fill up ambulances' tanks while hard-pressed community health care workers who travel long distances to see patients in their homes are spending a fortune on fuel and should be better compensated.

"Many NHS staff, especially younger and lower-paid workers, are struggling with soaring bills and prices. Employers are doing what they can to help those who need it but there's only so much that trust leaders' local initiatives can do. Pay is the chief factor in recruiting and retaining staff and in the current climate trust leaders say that it's even more vital that the government gets this year's NHS pay award right.

"All eyes in the NHS will be on the government's pay announcement which we expect imminently.

"It's likely too that the economic pressures will make long-standing health inequalities even worse as they take their toll on people's health and wellbeing. The government's forthcoming white paper on tackling health disparities – a key priority for NHS trusts – must address the wider causes of poor health and help to close the gap in healthy life expectancy between people in deprived and affluent areas.

"Meanwhile trust leaders understand concerns about what impact rail strikes may have on NHS services, staff and patients and will continue to monitor the situation closely."