Sunderland Eye Hospital in £90,000 water bill row

Sunderland Eye Infirmary, Queen Alexandra Road, Sunderland.

Sunderland Eye Infirmary, Queen Alexandra Road, Sunderland.

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SUNDERLAND Eye Infirmary is wasting £90,000 a year on its water bill, according to a lobbying group.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) says new research shows that scores of NHS facilities are forking out excessive amounts on energy and water when they could get them much cheaper.

Analysts say that the Eye Infirmary in Queen Alexandra Road spends more than £139,500 on energy, but choosing more cost-effective alternatives could slash that bill to just £50,358 per year.

The TPA reached the figures by comparing the amount paid out with the average cost in the area.

The report also suggests that the Sunderland Children’s Centre, which is in Durham Road in the city, could makes savings of more than £5,000 on its energy bills and £4,000 on water bills by switching providers and looking for better deals.

However, Washington Primary Care Centre, which comes under Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust, is rated as one of the best at getting value for its energy, with Pemberton House, Sunderland PCT’s headquarters also managing to save cash by paying below average prices for its water.

The NHS in England spent more than £630million on energy and £80 million on water during 2012-13. But, the TPA argues, if the sites had paid the average rate, it would have saved the organisation more than £41.4million, the equivalent of the salaries of more than 1,350 nurses.

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said a “war on waste” in the health service is due.

He said: “People pay a lot of money to support the NHS in their taxes, and they expect to see every penny possible spent on front-line care, not wasted overpaying for basics like energy and water. This is just one way for the NHS to save millions and ease the pressure on its finances created by years of runaway growth in costs.

“Before trusts complain about pressure on their finances now that the bumper increases in funding have dried up, they should take these kinds of opportunities to secure better value for money. They need to shop around for a better deal. It is time for a war on waste in the NHS.”

A spokesman for City Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We aim to get the best possible value for money across all our sites and operate a proactive and wide-reaching environmental policy within the trust. We will, of course, examine the new data to ensure that our water bills are kept to an absolute minimum.”

Top of the TPA’s list of wasters in Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, which it says could save more than £1.8million.