Wednesday 25 July 2018 / 7:00 PM Health / Jonathan Ashworth

Labour calls for Government NHS summer action plan to keep patients safe in the extreme heat

Labour calls for Government NHS summer action plan to keep patients safe in the extreme heat

Labour is today calling for the Government to produce an NHS summer action plan to keep patients safe in the extreme heat.

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, has written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock to warn “there is growing evidence that the severe hot weather is putting considerable extra strain on hospitals this summer, with wards over full and staff struggling to cope.”

Ashworth says: “It is clear that the traditional lull in NHS activity during the quieter summer months is a thing of the past. Hospitals now face year round pressures. With more hot weather on the way it is time for the Government to step in to help with an NHS summer action plan to keep patients safe.”

Labour is calling for the Government to publish an urgent update and an action plan for how the Government is supporting the NHS to deal with the current extreme heat, including:

  • Whether patients can expect to access routine services without disruption in the coming weeks
  • What additional resources is the Government providing to hospitals to help them cope
  • What extra guidance is being given to NHS staff
  • New plans to make sure that NHS buildings are properly equipped to deal with the extreme heat

Ends

 

Full letter from Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, to Health Secretary Matt Hancock MP

 

25 July 2018

 

Dear Matt,

I am writing to ask that you publish an urgent update and action plan for how the Government is supporting the NHS to deal with the current extreme heat.

There is growing evidence that the severe hot weather is putting considerable extra strain on hospitals this summer, with wards overfull and staff struggling to cope. There have been reports of patients and relatives passing out or vomiting in the heat.

Concerns have also been raised about a lack of air conditioning in hospitals while staff in some hospitals have been stopped from taking water bottles onto wards. The Royal College of Nursing has warned today that dehydration on hospital wards is a major health risk.

We know that the NHS is already facing huge capacity problems and even in June just 90% of A&E patients were seen within four hours. Patients and their families will want reassurance that the Government is doing everything in its power to avoid a summer crisis in the NHS.

So are you satisfied that the NHS is going to be able to cope with a further spike in demand in the summer months and that patients can expect to access routine services without disruption?

What additional resources is the Government providing to hospitals to help them cope with the rise in demand?

And with extreme heat continuing to be forecast this summer, what plans are you putting in place to make sure that NHS buildings are properly equipped to support patients in all kinds of weather?

It is clear that the traditional lull in NHS activity during the quieter summer months is a thing of the past. Hospitals now face year round pressures and with more hot weather on the way it is time for the Government to step in to help with an NHS summer action plan to keep patients safe.

What guidance is being given to NHS staff to help keep them working and caring for their patients in a safe way?

Best wishes

Jonathan Ashworth
Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary