Sajid Javid said the NHS in England must stop using energy supplied by Russian company Gazprom.
A senior government source has told news agency PA Media that the Health Secretary is in talks with NHS England (NHSE) over terminating the contracts, which Politico said were worth £16m sterling in 2021. More than a dozen NHS trusts are believed to be provided by Gazprom, alongside several local councils.
The source told PA Media: “Sajid spoke with NHSE and was clear that the trusts must stop using Gazprom as a supplier. He also called for a broader review of any Russian role in the chains of health service supply.
It comes after Lord Simon Stevens, former head of NHS England, told the House of Lords that ‘decarbonising the health sector will take pound notes out of the hands of dictatorial regimes who engage in acts of aggression’ .
Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt also tweeted: “It is clearly unsustainable for a humanitarian organization like the NHS to have any commercial ties with [Vladimir] Putin’s murderous regime.
Total public sector spending in the UK with Gazprom between 2016 and 2021 was £107m, according to public procurement data providers Tussell.
The organization said its analysis showed that of this figure, £77m came from the NHS and £29m from local authorities.
He said Gazprom’s top five buyers were all NHS bodies, with Newcastle NHS trust topping the list with a spend of £15million, and calculated that Suffolk and Manchester were the local authorities most dependent on Gazprom.
Newcastle Trust confirmed it changed gas supplier in April 2021.
A number of councils have said they want to end contracts with Gazprom and are considering ties with other Russian suppliers.
Paul Dennett, Ayor of the City of Salford, wrote to Levels, Housing and Communities Secretary Michael Gove, asking if the government intended to sanction Gazprom and urging a ‘flexible approach’ to councils which ‘ should wish to shed our dependence on the Russian state”. owned companies”.
He wrote: “Our contract will be renewed in June, and I do not want public money to be spent on Russian state income during the current military crisis in Ukraine.
“However, at present, under the current set of sanctions and/or rules, such considerations would apparently not be considered legally relevant in assessing Gazprom’s ability to win the next tender. (or not).”
A spokesman for Manchester City Council said their contract with Gazprom expires at the end of the month, adding that they are “looking for alternative gas suppliers“, while Suffolk County Council is also working on others options.
But Slough Borough Council, which confirmed it had a contract with Gazprom, said: ‘Unfortunately it is not possible to say at this time whether we will continue or not.
Merton Council is considering canceling a new one-year, £1million contract with Gazprom to supply gas across buildings, including leisure centres, libraries and some schools, which is due to start on April 1st.
A spokesperson for the Local Government Association (LGA) said: “Councils are deeply saddened by the tragic events unfolding in Ukraine and are following the situation closely.
“It is up to individual councils to decide how to act locally but, like many organisations, they will consider what action they may want to take in light of UK sanctions and the current situation.”
The LGA added that it was looking into how to facilitate a way for councils to meet next week to discuss their plans and agree on any common approach.
A government spokesman said: “We will work closely with councils and other public bodies to ensure they are able to comply with the financial and investment restrictions imposed on Russia and we will engage with them on the support they need to do so.”