The number of overheating incidents in clinical areas reported by NHS trusts has almost doubled over the last five years, with directors saying ageing estates make them vulnerable to extreme weather events.
Providers reported that temperatures went above 26°C – the threshold for a risk assessment – more than 5,500 times in 2021-22, according to official data.
Overheating looks set to become an increasingly significant issue for NHS estates, HSJ was told, as climate change makes extreme weather events more frequent and more intense.
Janet Smith, head of sustainability at Royal Wolverhampton and Walsall Healthcare Trusts, said: “We’re feeling it now. And it’s not going to change unless we do something about it. We need a climate resilient estate to actually deliver sustainable care.”
An overheating incident is when the temperature surpasses 26°C in an occupied ward or clinical space in a day, with each area counting as a separate incident. When this happens, trusts should carry out a risk assessment and take action to ensure the safety of vulnerable patients.
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Source: HSJ, 16 February 2023
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