Care England, the largest and most diverse representative body for independent providers of adult social care in England, has today expressed disappointment at the Government’s decision not to prioritise the care sector in its support for electricity and gas.
Professor Martin Green, Chief Executive of Care England, says:
“It is deeply concerning that the Government has overlooked protecting care homes in the event of planned blackouts. This is at odds with the treatment of the health sector, with hospices being prioritised. With the National Grid warning of winter blackouts amid the energy crisis as a result of gas supplies from Europe being insufficient due to the war in Ukraine, the Government has a responsibility to ensure that some of the most vulnerable in society remain protected. The vehicle to achieving this is by placing care homes on the list of industries to be prioritised in such an event. Whilst we recognise the support that has been tabled by Government to support care homes, including the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, more must be done. The Welsh Government has issued a new grant scheme to support energy efficiency improvements and decarbonisation across Residential Social Care providers, which will help the sector deal with the cost of energy crisis. What is preventing our Government from acting pragmatically.”
According to the Department of Health and Social Care, the care sector is not explicitly eligible to be prioritised for electricity under the Electricity Supply Emergency Code (ESEC). It is likely not technically feasible to prioritise most provider sites as they will not be large enough to have a discrete feeder i.e. the property’s electricity supply cannot be isolated to that one property. However, hospices remain on the list.
Martin Green continues:
“In the absence of being deemed a priority sector, we must now look to local systems to ensure they are as resilient as possible during the colder months. We encourage all providers to ensure they have robust business continuity and contingency plans in place and have registered with the priority services register through their energy provider. Care providers may well have to send more people to hospital, only accentuating the current issue of hospital backlogs.”