Responding to the ongoing effects of the heatwave on the NHS, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:
“The likelihood is that with climate change, these temperatures could become increasingly common and even an annual occurrence. Without targeted support and adequate Government long-term investment, the British summer risks becoming even more difficult for the NHS to navigate than winter.
"Hospitals, GP surgeries and other NHS settings are doing all they can to stay open and continue seeing as many patients as possible despite the extreme temperature conditions.
"Despite this there is a risk that the heatwave will have a knock-on effect on the care that can be provided. Some hospital and GP services may have to change where, when and how they deliver certain appointments where they have outdated premises that cannot be adapted appropriately for patients in this extreme weather, and this will include buying portable air conditioning units and fans for unsuitable premises.
“The next few days will stretch the health service to the maximum. Our buildings and estate are ill equipped to deal with these kinds of temperatures and a lack of capital investment in the NHS over the last ten years means we have very little resilience left to deal with crisis situations like this.
"Sadly, despite the NHS best efforts the fact that the mercury is rising so dramatically will have an impact on care. Ambulances are getting even more callouts and some hospitals are having to pause outpatient appointments to prioritise urgent care.
“NHS leaders are urging their communities to follow the latest public health advice and do all they can to stay safe, including avoiding being out in the sun during the day, drinking plenty of water, wearing a hat and sun cream and checking on vulnerable family, friends and neighbours.”
Welsh NHS Confederation Annual Conference and Exhibition 2022
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17 August 2022