Can healthcare workers afford to heat and eat?

This month we saw the cost of energy rise. When these rises were announced, Pat Cullen, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said in response: “This latest increase in heating costs will leave many terrified about how they’ll stay warm this winter. Nursing staff I talked to this week were dreading this kind of announcement and fear a winter of impossible decisions at home.

“They have already endured a decade of pay stagnation and the spiralling living costs have forced some into poverty.

“Some will be left wondering if they can afford to even stay in nursing - thousands have left in the last year alone”.

A snap poll by Nursing Notes revealed a massive 74% of nursing staff plan on working overtime or agency shifts to be able to afford gas and electric prices.

Over half (56%) said they expected to work more than a week (37.5 hours) extra a month to be able to make ends meet.

Meanwhile fuel price rises are having a big impact on people with jobs that mean they have to travel. So, community health workers, health visitors, care workers, social workers are hardest hit.

Christina McAnea, general secretary of the public services union Unison, said: “We’re actually hearing of people who would rather phone in sick because they don’t have the money to fill up their cars and do their jobs.”

Struggling, overworked healthcare workers are going to be faced with the looming healthcare crisis this winter. This year, it’s a perfect storm of winter viruses combined with a population who are equally having to choose to heat or eat, living in damp and cold conditions. At some point, breaking point will be reached.

At HWF, we provide financial support for healthcare workers who are struggling to make ends meet, in the form of grants for specific needs or for help with incoming and outgoing costs.

There are other sources of help available too…

MoneySavingExpert is an impartial source of advice. This guide helps you to get financial help and support for heating bills. Make sure you are due all of the government and local council grants for which you are eligible. Get on the Priority Services Register if you qualify.

The Energy Saving Trust offers a range of services to help you to heat your home efficiently and save money, and also has some quick tips to save energy.

National Energy Action is the national fuel poverty charity and provides a wide range of advice for those struggling with fuel and other bills.