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Heatwave plan for England

NHS England Heatwave Plan 2015

The Heatwave Plan for England is a plan intended to protect the population from heat-related harm to health. It aims to prepare for, alert people to, and prevent, the major avoidable effects on health during periods of severe heat in England. It recommends a series of steps to reduce the risks to health from prolonged exposure to severe heat for:

  • The NHS, local authorities, social care, and other public agencies
  • Professionals working with people at risk
  • Individuals, local communities and voluntary groups

The Heatwave Plan has been published annually since 2004, following the devastating pan-European heatwave in 2003. This year’s plan builds on many years of experience of developing and improving the ability of the health sector and its partners to deal with significant periods of hot weather.

The plan continues to be underpinned by a system of heatwave alerts, developed with the Met Office. The Heatwave Plan describes the Heat-Health Watch system which operates in England from 1 June to 15 September each year. During this period, the Met Office may forecast heatwaves, as defined by forecasts of day and night-time temperatures and their duration.

The Heat-Health Watch system now comprises five main levels (Levels 0-4), from long-term planning for severe heat, through summer and heatwave preparedness, to a major national emergency. Each alert level should trigger a series of appropriate actions which are detailed in the Heatwave Plan.



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