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Elderly people have a greater need for domestic heating given the time they spend at home and the decline in the body thermoregulation that occurs with ageing. The use of domestic heating by 200 mentally competent newly admitted elderly in patients was evaluated by means of a questionnaire survey. Most patients (69%) were aware of the addition of value added tax (VAT) to their fuel bill and 31% said they had reduced the amount of heating they use because of this. A third of patients (29.5%) said they had difficulty keeping warm prior to this admission. The majority of patients said they could not manage to keep warm in the winter without financial hardship. In addition, 29% said they had reduced the amount spent on food in order to pay for fuel bills. This study suggests that cold may contribute to hospital admissions in elderly patients. This should have implications for government spending and taxation policy on domestic heating.