Public Health England has published the Heatwave Plan for 2013 to raise organisational, public and professional awareness of the potential dangers to health from severe hot weather.
The Plan’s purpose is to enhance resilience in the event of a heatwave and to describe the actions which can be taken to protect and improve health before and during such an event.
The Heatwave Plan is underpinned by the Heat-Health Watch alert system which has been developed with the Met Office to alert key stakeholders to the likelihood of severe hot weather in different parts of the country, so they can take appropriate action.
The Plan, which has been revised this year to reflect the organisational changes in health care and public health, has been produced collaboratively with PHE’s partners in the Department of Health, NHS England, the Local Government Association and the Met Office. It also emphasises the importance of long-term joint working throughout the year to reduce the impact of climate change and take appropriate measures to prepare for severe heatwaves.
Dr Angie Bone, who is coordinating the Heatwave Plan for PHE, said:
While many people enjoy sunny weather, high temperatures can be dangerous, especially for people who may be particularly vulnerable such as older people, young children and those with serious illnesses. There is consistent and extensive evidence from around the world that exposure to excessive heat kills, with most cases of illness and death caused by heart and lung disease. The Heatwave Plan is an important component of overall emergency planning and sets out a series of clear actions that can be taken by healthcare organisations, local authorities, professionals working with vulnerable people, and individuals to help keep people safe during extreme heat. To avoid the devastating consequences of a heatwave, we strongly encourage each locality to consider the actions in this plan and adapt them to their local situation, as a component of wider resilience planning and long-term climate change adaptation arrangements.
A copy of the Heatwave Plan for England 2013, factsheets for healthcare staff and a public information leaflet are available on our website.