NEW figures claim the NHS is wasting more than £76,000 a year on water and energy bills at Malvern Community Hospital.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance claims the cash – enough to pay the wages of five fully-qualified nurses – is being frittered away because bosses are not bothering to shop around for the best deal.

The organisation, which campaigns to protect taxpayers and stop public money being wasted, investigated how much NHS sites across the country are paying for their energy and water compared to the national rates.

And Worcestershire Health and Care Trust (WHCT) is the county’s biggest overspender, it claims, overpaying for water by £16,815 and for energy by a massive £139,562.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance says almost £100,000 could be slashed from the bills of Malvern and Pershore Community Hospitals alone.

The Malvern site’s annual energy spend of £169,342 is highlighted as an overspend of £70,965 while the annual water bill was reckoned to be £5,699 above the going rate.

Nationally, the report says £41.4 million was wasted on overpaying for water and energy last year – enough to employ an extra 1,350 nurses.

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, 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 overpaying for basics like energy and water.

“Before trusts complain about pressure on their finances now that the bumper increases in funding have dried up, they should take opportunities to secure better value for money.

“It is time for a war on waste in the NHS.”

A WHCT spokesman said energy rate decisions are often out of the trust’s hands and that the best environment for patient care was vital, but stressed efficiency is a top priority. “For example we are installing cavity wall insulation in some of our buildings, replacing ageing boilers, replacing windows and upgrading heating controls across our estate,” he said.

“In addition we use automatic meters in the majority of our smaller sites instead of estimated bills, meaning we get more accurate consumption data and financial savings.

“The majority of our energy supplies are delivered through contracts negotiated by the government’s national procurement service which dictate the rates charged, although these are reviewed and re-tendered on a regular basis.”