Guidance on managing the ill effects of heatwaves for the NHS and other providers has been released.
The Heatwave Plan for 2014, from Public Health England (PHE), NHS England, the Department of Health and the Local Government Association (LGA) outlines actions that can be taken by health and social care professionals during periods of hot weather.
Dr Angie Bone, head of the Extreme Events Section at PHE’s Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards, said: “Although a hot summer might be welcomed by many people after all the rain this winter, it’s important to remember that hot weather can have a harmful effect on health.
“During the prolonged period of hot weather in July last year, PHE issued precautionary advice and reported small increases in heat related illnesses in line with seasonal expectations for the hot weather, using PHE surveillance systems including mortality data, consultation data from GPs and emergency department attendances.
“This is why we release a Heatwave Plan each year, so that health and social care professionals and the public are as prepared as they can be to minimise the harmful effects of hot weather.”
Community and primary care providers should include risk in care records and consider whether changes might be necessary to care plans in the event of a heatwave (e.g. initiating daily visits by formal or informal care givers for those living alone), the guidance reads.
And practices should identify high-risk individuals on your caseload and raise awareness of heat illnesses and their prevention among clients and carers.
The guidance, which is available online, also provides a list of key public health measures.