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NHS chief urges help for staff living in fuel poverty

2011-03-25 14:32:00

A top executive at one of Scotland's most rural health boards has said the government needs to do more to help its staff with their domestic fuel provisions, after it emerged that many employees were technically living in fuel poverty.

Gordon MacDonald, NHS Highland's energy and environment manager, said that they were aware of a significant number of employees who were spending more than 10 per cent of their household income on fuel bills. The 10 per cent figure is the threshold used by the Scottish Government to delineate fuel poverty.

Mr MacDonald said more needed to be done to point these people in the direction of measures that could reduce their fuel bills or make their energy consumption more efficient.

"Many of our staff are facing increasing energy costs - in excess of 10 per cent of their salaries - bringing them into what the government calls fuel poverty," he said. "Very often there are alternatives to their current situation and the help is freely available."

Mr MacDonald said the board was doing its own bit to try to cut down on wasted energy from its own buildings, which he said cost the board £500,000 every year. He said they were leasing low emission cars and installing a biomass boiler at Raigmore Hospital to cut back on the two million litres of heating oil burned at the hospital every year.

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