Evaluation of the Heatwave Plan for England
PHE ePoster Library. Williams L. 09/12/19; 274536; 91
Lorraine Williams
Lorraine Williams
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Abstract
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Abstract In England, periods of severe hot weather account for excesses in death and illness rates, particularly among those most vulnerable to heat. Following the severe heatwave in 2003, accounting for over 2,000 excess UK deaths, and climate change predictions for a trend of longer hotter summers in England, the government introduced a Heatwave Plan for England (HWP). The Plan's aim is to reduce harm to health by providing guidance to the public, NHS, social care and local authorities on how to prepare for and respond to heatwaves. In 2016, Public Health England and the Department of Health and Social Care commissioned the Policy Innovation and Evaluation Research Unit to conduct an independent evaluation of the implementation and effects of the HWP. The evaluation was conducted between January 2017 and October 2018.A mixed methods study was conducted comprising: longitudinal analysis of hospital deaths and admissions during heat-health alerts; case studies and national survey of nurses on local implementation of the HWP; focus groups and a national survey of public attitudes, awareness and behaviours relating to hot weather.Findings showed that, although a reduction in impact during recent heatwave events was observed, there was substantial variation in heat-health risk awareness, knowledge and behaviours between individuals and organisations involved in implementing the HWP, and among members of the public.As future English summer temperatures increase, there will be a greater need for health and social care professionals and organisations to be better prepared and resourced in order to protect those most vulnerable. External funding details This paper is based on independent research commissioned and funded by the NIHR Policy Research Programme through its core support to the Policy Innovation and Evaluation Research Unit (Project No: 102/0001). The views expressed in the publication are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR, the Department of Health and Social Care, its arm's length bodies or other Government Departments.
Abstract In England, periods of severe hot weather account for excesses in death and illness rates, particularly among those most vulnerable to heat. Following the severe heatwave in 2003, accounting for over 2,000 excess UK deaths, and climate change predictions for a trend of longer hotter summers in England, the government introduced a Heatwave Plan for England (HWP). The Plan's aim is to reduce harm to health by providing guidance to the public, NHS, social care and local authorities on how to prepare for and respond to heatwaves. In 2016, Public Health England and the Department of Health and Social Care commissioned the Policy Innovation and Evaluation Research Unit to conduct an independent evaluation of the implementation and effects of the HWP. The evaluation was conducted between January 2017 and October 2018.A mixed methods study was conducted comprising: longitudinal analysis of hospital deaths and admissions during heat-health alerts; case studies and national survey of nurses on local implementation of the HWP; focus groups and a national survey of public attitudes, awareness and behaviours relating to hot weather.Findings showed that, although a reduction in impact during recent heatwave events was observed, there was substantial variation in heat-health risk awareness, knowledge and behaviours between individuals and organisations involved in implementing the HWP, and among members of the public.As future English summer temperatures increase, there will be a greater need for health and social care professionals and organisations to be better prepared and resourced in order to protect those most vulnerable. External funding details This paper is based on independent research commissioned and funded by the NIHR Policy Research Programme through its core support to the Policy Innovation and Evaluation Research Unit (Project No: 102/0001). The views expressed in the publication are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR, the Department of Health and Social Care, its arm's length bodies or other Government Departments.
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