Third of healthcare facilities will be at risk from heatwave by 2050

A third of England’s healthcare facilities such as hospitals, nursing and care homes will be at risk from heatwave from 2050 according to new research by the Financial Times.

The investigation found that 5,000 of the 14,531 healthcare facilities will be in areas of high or acute levels of heat “disadvantage” by 2050, concluding that facilities in London would be at particular risk due to its location, lack of green spaces to reduce heat and higher levels of homelessness.

Saint Celia’s Care Group managing director Mike Padgham said last year’s heatwave was “a bit of a turning point.”

The heatwave caused over 2.800 deaths among those aged 65 and over in England. It was also found that deaths in hospitals in England and Wales were 6% above average on overly hot days and at 9% in care homes.

“We don’t have enough resources of our own to convert the buildings to be more heat friendly,” he added.

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Earlier this year, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) warned the government about the slow pace of progress in preparing healthcare facilities for heatwaves. The CCC highlighted the absence of a policy framework for managing risks overheating buildings.

Additionally, the CCC observed that while it had been able to identify incidents of “overheating” within hospital settings, comparable data was not available for other healthcare environments. In terms of government strategies aimed at safeguarding cities against the escalating impact of climate change, the Climate Change Committee concluded a gap remains for a “joined-up strategy for managing urban heat overall.”

This year the NHS published a net zero building standard that requires new buildings and upgrade to existing facilities to avoid overheating.

The FT report that, however, strained budgets, and the fact that responsibility for preparing hospitals and care homes for a hotter climate is split across different bodies — from the government to NHS England to private care home operators — make addressing the issue even more difficult.

Climate crisisHospitalityNewsPolicy

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