Published On: Tue, Dec 6th, 2022

Certain NHS patients could get energy bill reduction this winter – who is eligible? | Personal Finance | Finance

NHS doctors in specific regions of the UK are taking part in a new service called the Warm Home Prescription. It is being piloted by Energy Systems Catapult and is designed to assist vulnerable people on low incomes with existing cost-sensitive health conditions. Free prescriptions are already available to particular groups of people but this latest scheme looks set to tackle the ongoing energy bills also.

What is the Warm Home Prescription?

The idea behind this particular initiative is to help those with health conditions affected by cold weather to stay warm over winter.

According to Energy Systems Catapult, offering to pay for their energy bills could keep vulnerable people out of hospitals over the next couple of months which may relieve pressure on the NHS.

Since October 2022, households with average usage have seen their gas and electricity bills rise by 27 percent even with the Government’s price guarantee being in place.

Experts believe this latest free prescription scheme could save both families and the NHS money in the winter months.

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Who is eligible for the Warm Home Prescription?

As the scheme is only in its pilot state at the moment, only households living in certain parts of the UK are eligible for it.

Aberdeenshire and Tees Valley are the two areas in the country taking part in the pilot service this winter 2022/23.

It should be noted that only people directly invited to take part in this initiative will be eligible for a Warm Home Prescription.

Eligible people will either receive a letter through the mail or be called by an NHS social prescriber, who will inform them of their eligibility.


Households cannot apply to take part in the free prescription scheme either through Energy Systems Catapult, the NHS or another health service provider.

Those taking part in this energy bill experiment will never be asked to share their bank details by the NHS or Energy Systems Catapult.

Examples of the health conditions which could make someone eligible for a Warm Home Prescription include respiratory diseases such as COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis or bronchiectasis, cardio-vascular disease.

Conditions which affect someone’s immune system could also qualify a patient, including arthritis, asthma, or those undergoing chemotherapy.

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On its website, Energy Systems Catapult breaks down why this free prescription initiative for energy bills may be necessary to prop up the health service and protect patients.

The organisation stated: “At least 10,000 people die every winter in the UK because their home isn’t warm enough.

“While it is estimated that health care provided as a result of people living in cold homes costs the NHS over £1billion million each year in England alone.

“The UK Government spends £2.5billion each year trying to reduce fuel poverty. However, only 16 percent of that reaches fuel poor households and less still reaches those who are fuel poor and have significant health conditions.”

Who is eligible for free prescriptions?

This freebie benefit is already available to help those with the cost of prescription charges with different rules depending on where someone lives in the UK.

Anyone 60 or older is eligible for free prescriptions in England but residents in Scotland and Wales are eligible for free prescriptions no matter what their age.

Young people who are under 16 are also eligible for free prescriptions, while people aged between 16 and 18 are eligible for the benefit if they are in higher education.

Households can also purchase a MedEx certificate to cover the cost of prescription charges, if they have a qualifying health condition, or a MatX if they are pregnant or just had a baby.

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