UK weather – live: Showers to give relief before temperatures surge again

·25-min read

Showers will offer some respite from the heat on Thursday before temperatures climb back up to potentially record levels over the weekend, the Met Office said.

Ministers have been urged to convene a second emergency Cobra meeting in three days to tackle how to protect an NHS “operating at the brink” during this week’s searing heatwave.

The call from the Liberal Democrats came as the Met Office extended its amber alert for extreme heat for a further 24 hours until midnight next Tuesday, warning that the severe conditions will likely cause serious illness and endanger lives.

The national forecaster now believes there is a one in five chance that Britain could record its hottest ever temperature over that period, with some meteorological models even indicating the extreme heat could hit a scorching 40C.

Officials have not ruled out that the first-ever national heatwave emergency could be declared, with forecasters warning the extreme conditions mean health impacts could be felt by those not typically deemed vulnerable to heat.

Key Points

  • Convene new Cobra meeting to deal with NHS crisis, ministers urged

  • Met Office extends danger to life warning until Tuesday

  • London experiences rare ‘tropical night'

  • Met Office can’t rule out record 40C heat later this week

  • Heatwaves are getting worse – what role does climate change play?

Will the UK hit 40C next week?

09:10 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Next week promises scorching temperatures, but will they be record-breaking?

If the mercury flies past 40C, this will be the hottest temperature ever recorded in the UK, according to the Met Office.

How hot does it have to be to legally leave work?

08:30 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

British summertime is long-awaited after our lengthy cold winters, and yet we never seem to be properly prepared for the inevitable heatwave (or heatwaves if we’re lucky).

Temperatures can reach up to 34C in some parts of the country, but how hot does it need to be before workers should be sent home by their employers?

Here’s everything you need to know:

Can you legally leave work if it becomes too hot?

Highs of 26C in the south today

08:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Thursday will see highs of 26C in the south, as temperatures settle ahead of a scorching hot weekend.

The further north you go, the cooler it will feel as temperatures hang around the mid to late teens in Scotland.

A cooler Thursday

07:32 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Thursday morning feels cooler as the temperature has dippled slightly, offering some much needed respite to the strong heat we have been experiencing this week.

‘Seven cars to break down every minute' during record temperatures

07:30 , Shweta Sharma

As the UK is bracing for a record 40C temperature over the weekend, more than 11,000 breakdowns are expected, new figures have suggested.

According to roadside assistance provider Green Flag there could be a possibility of a total of 60,000 breakdowns occurring till Saturday with an average of seven every minute.

“Every summer, tens of thousands of drivers end up broken down by the side of the road because their cars let them down – that’s a lot of people whose summer plans are thrown into disarray,” RAC Breakdown spokesman Rod Dennis said.

“Add in the rising cost of living and the fact this summer is set to be the most expensive for years due to the record-high price of fuel and it’s obvious that unplanned repairs and hefty garage bills will be the very last things most drivers want.”

He advised people to check their vehicle before beginning their journey.

Kent boy put in ‘prison-like’ isolation for wearing shorts to school amid heatwave

07:15 , Shweta Sharma

The family of a 13-year-old boy has said that their son was subjected to punishment and put in a special room for going to school in shorts.

Harrison Utting, a student in Westlands School, said he did not wear trousers to his school in Sittingbourne, Kent on Monday and was put in an isolation room ‘like a prison’.

His father Terry Utting has criticised the school which he said does not have air conditioning.

“I don’t think it’s right the way the school is treating its students,” he said, according to the Metro.

“There is a blanket ban on shorts but there is no air-conditioning in the classrooms and the pupils are roasting in 30C heat.

“At least the girls can wear skirts.

“I read that in another school all the boys ended up wearing skirts as that was the only way they could keep cool and follow the dress code.”

It came as several schools relaxed their uniform policies as temperatures in parts of the country have pushed thermometers into uncharted territory. This week, Kent saw temperatures soaring to 26C.

The school’s head teacher said they have a clear policy on uniform and “an overwhelming majority of our parents are supportive of our current policy”.

“In the event of the extreme temperatures that are currently being forecast for next week, we would be willing to make reasonable adjustments.”

Texas grid takes emergency actions to avoid blackouts amid heatwave

06:57 , Shweta Sharma

It may be hot in the UK right now, but spare a thought for Texans who saw temperatures soar into the triple digits (fahrenheit) at the weekend – Waco saw 108F (42.2C).

With temperatures expected to rise back up to the high thirties again this weekend, power grid operators have been forced to take urgent measures.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the grid that serves more than 26 million customers, initiated a rarely used emergency programme that is triggered when supplies fall below a critical safety margin.

It was done to avoid widespread blackouts as soaring electricity demand threatened to outpace available supplies amid the stifling heatwave.

Which UK cities are more vulnerable to heatwave

06:45 , Shweta Sharma

New research has identified communities that could be hardest hit as the country continued to witness soaring temperatures, raising concerns about heatstroke and dehydration.

Birmingham has emerged as the most vulnerable city that needs urgent support to cope up with hot weather, according to analysis from Manchester University and campaigners Friends of the Earth (FoE).

Other communities that made to the list were the London boroughs of Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Nottingham.

FoE’s head of science, policy and research Mike Childs told Sky News that the number of people exposed to heat “grows very rapidly as the planet warms up”. He said it could have “real human consequences” for failing to cut emissions.

He urged the politicians to double down on cutting our carbon emissions.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Heatwaves should be given names by Met Office just like storms, scientists say

06:00 , Liam James

The UK should name heatwaves to help protect those most vulnerable to temperature extremes, say leading UK scientists.

Scientists agree that climate change is increasing the frequency, severity and duration of heatwaves.

And now the London-based Physiological Society is calling for them to be named in the same way as storms are, as an early-warning system.

The society says it would raise awareness that there is a risk to health and that people “cannot expect to continue as normal”.

Heatwaves should be given names just like storms, scientists say

Thames Water warns against excess water usage

04:47 , Shweta Sharma

With temperatures in the UK soaring this week, Thames Water has urged residents to limit consumption amid expected water shortages in the next few years.

Prolonged spells of hot and dry weather would increase the demand for water, putting strain on the network.

Andrew Tucker, Water Demand Reduction Manager at Thames Water, said: “During spells of hot weather, water usage can often rocket, with hoses and sprinklers watering gardens and paddling pools filled. That makes it even more important to be mindful of water usage to ensure there’s enough to go around for everyone.”

“While we’re not currently expecting to introduce restrictions on water use this summer, it’s important that households remain responsible with their usage and help us to limit the pressure on our resources.”

It has advised people to save water by taking shorter showers, swap hose for a watering can and fix leaky taps among other measures.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Turkey wildfire: In pictures

03:00 , Liam James

In southwestern Turkey on Wednesday, a blaze erupted near the Aegean Sea resort of Datca, and was moving in the direction of some homes in the area, according to the provincial governor’s office.

It said at least nine water-dropping helicopters and five planes were deployed to battle the fire.

Locals help tackled fire near Datca (AFP/Getty)
Locals help tackled fire near Datca (AFP/Getty)
Smoke rises from a wildfire in Datca (Reuters)
Smoke rises from a wildfire in Datca (Reuters)
A digger helps to extinguish a forest fire near Datca (AFP/Getty)
A digger helps to extinguish a forest fire near Datca (AFP/Getty)

Boat owners on UK’s longest canal stuck due to record water shortage in heatwave

01:30 , Liam James

Boat owners could find they are unable to move their vessels next week as parts of the UK’s longest canal are closed due to water shortages.

A lack of rainfall during the dry spring and ongoing summer heatwave has led to low water levels in rivers and some reservoirs in Yorkshire and Lancashire.

It means canal locks have not been filled to their usual levels and stretches of the Leeds-Liverpool canal will be shut at times next week.

Cheshire also saw locks closed temporarily last month after the region experienced “historically low levels” of water.

Canal boats were also left stuck on a stretch of canal in Coventry last week after a pump supply reportedly ran dry.

Boat owners on UK’s longest canal stuck due to record water shortage in heatwave

Heatwaves should be given names by Met Office just like storms, scientists say

Thursday 14 July 2022 00:00 , Liam James

The UK should name heatwaves to help protect those most vulnerable to temperature extremes, say leading UK scientists.

Scientists agree that climate change is increasing the frequency, severity and duration of heatwaves.

And now the London-based Physiological Society is calling for them to be named in the same way as storms are, as an early-warning system.

The society says it would raise awareness that there is a risk to health and that people “cannot expect to continue as normal”.

Heatwaves should be given names just like storms, scientists say

Showers to bring slight cool before weekend surge

Wednesday 13 July 2022 23:54 , Liam James

Showers will offer some respite from the heat tomorrow before temperatures climb back up to potentially record levels over the weekend, the Met Office said.

Thousands on Isle of Sheppey still without water for second day during heatwave as schools forced to shut

Wednesday 13 July 2022 23:00 , Liam James

Thousands of people on the Isle of Sheppey were left without running water for a second day in the midst of a sweltering heatwave.

Schools and public buildings across the Kentish island were forced to close on Wednesday after efforts to restart supplies were hampered when a second water pipe burst overnight.

Southern Water said it fixed the pipe that first cut off supplies on Monday but restoring pressure to the system overwhelmed another pipe and closed the network off again.

A third emergency station was set up at Sheerness Tesco on the north point of the island to provide residents with bottled water as their home taps were useless for a second day.

Thousands on Isle of Sheppey still without water as schools forced to shut

Binman ‘banned’ from wearing shorts to work turns up in kilt

Wednesday 13 July 2022 22:09 , Liam James

A binman who said his bosses banned him from wearing shorts in hot weather has completed his rounds in a hi-vis kilt.

Lee Moran, 50, asked York City Council for years to wear shorts in summer but was always told that health and safety rules did not permit it.

But when Lee found out this was not true, he claims his managers confessed they had actually prevented waste collectors from wearing shorts to protect their “public image”.

One manager did say that kilts were permitted, so on Monday Lee donned a fluorescent orange kilt in protest at council policy.

Mr Moran said the response to his protest had been “absolutely amazing” and he hoped to convince the council to change its approach before the temperatures rise next week.

Moran doing his rounds on Monday (Lee Moran/SWNS)
Moran doing his rounds on Monday (Lee Moran/SWNS)

China on red alert in heatwave

Wednesday 13 July 2022 21:35 , Liam James

A red alert has been sounded in 86 cities across China as they reel under soaring temperatures in recent days due to a heatwave sweeping across large parts of the country.

Many cities are also registering record high temperatures even as rains continued to wreak havoc in many pockets. Such climate crisis-induced weather extremes are predicted to linger on.

The red alert is the highest in a three-tier warning system and has been issued for parts of the eastern Jiangsu province and neighbouring Shanghai, where records have been broken for the highest temperatures for the month of July.

On Tuesday, maximum temperatures soared to 37-39C in parts of Sichuan, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hubei and Anhui provinces, and the cities of Chongqing and Shanghai.

Red alert in China after record breaking high temperatures and relentless rains

Look: Yorkshire reservoir dried up due to heatwave demand

Wednesday 13 July 2022 20:40 , Liam James

More photos have come through of the drying out bed and receded water levels at Lindley Wood Reservoir in Otley, West Yorkshire.

A spokesman for Yorkshire Water noted that Lindley Wood was a “compensation reservoir” that takes excess water from nearby reservoirs that supply customers.

In a heatwave like Britain is currently experiencing, residential demand for water is high so nearby reservoirs will not be overflowing and sending water to reservoirs like Lindley Wood.

 (Getty)
(Getty)
 (Getty)
(Getty)
 (Getty)
(Getty)

Portugal tackles wildfires in blazing heat

Wednesday 13 July 2022 19:50 , Liam James

Several wildfires were sparked in Portugal today, leaving firefighters to tackle the blazes in the middle of a blistering heatwave that has seen temperatures upwards of 40C.

Water-dumping planes helped 1,300 firefighters combat the worst of the fires in the nation’s central area, while another 1,000 worked to bring other blazes under control.

Civil Protection commander Andre Fernandes said that multiple fires have caused the evacuation of more than 600 people.

About 120 people needed medical treatment, with two people – one civilian and one firefighter – suffering serious injuries, Mr Fernandes said.

Last year, Portugal recorded its lowest number of wildfires since 2011. But a mass of hot and dry air blown in by African winds are driving temperatures in the Iberian peninsula beyond their usual highs.

Parts of Spain, southern France and Turkey are also dealing with wildfires today.

A woman wets an expanse of land during a forest fire in the village of Lavradio, north of Lisbon (EPA)
A woman wets an expanse of land during a forest fire in the village of Lavradio, north of Lisbon (EPA)
A wildfire burns near a house in Lavradio (EPA)
A wildfire burns near a house in Lavradio (EPA)
Flames surround houses in the village of Boavista, central Portugal (EPA)
Flames surround houses in the village of Boavista, central Portugal (EPA)

Ambulances under winter levels of pressure, says health minister

Wednesday 13 July 2022 19:00 , Liam James

Ambulance services are facing “the sort of pressures we would normally expect to see in winter”, a health minister said.

All ambulance trusts in England declared a emergency yesterday, while the Welsh trust has urged the public to take care in the heat so that paramedics are not overwhelmed.

Health minister Maria Caulfield told the House of Commons today the situation was “extremely concerning for the months ahead”, adding she would be “meeting all 11 ambulance trusts over the coming days to make sure that they have the capacity and resilience they need”.

Ms Caulfield said the government had made a £30m deal with an auxiliary ambulance service which will provide extra staff and equipment if needed.

Wes Streeting, shadow health secretary, said “extreme weather” was putting further pressure on emergency services “but it is 12 years of Conservative underfunding that has left them unable to cope”.

London offers support to rough sleepers in heatwave

Wednesday 13 July 2022 18:14 , Liam James

London mayor Sadiq Khan has triggered a severe weather emergency response, typically activated when temperatures plummet to freezing in the winter, to support rough sleepers in the capital in the heatwave.

City Hall has written to all London boroughs and rough sleeping services to ask them to conduct welfare checks on vulnerable people and provide sunscreen, water and information about staying cool and safe in the high temperatures.

Mr Khan said: “This ongoing heatwave could be dangerous for anyone, but for people sleeping rough, there are additional risks.

“Across the capital, we are taking action to assist those forced to sleep rough in these extremely high temperatures, by increasing welfare checks, providing plenty of water and sunscreen, and ensuring people sleeping rough know where to access cool spaces and water fountains.”

Parched earth in the normally green surroundings of Parliament Square, Westminster (PA)
Parched earth in the normally green surroundings of Parliament Square, Westminster (PA)

Millions to see bin collection times change due to extreme weather

Wednesday 13 July 2022 17:28 , Liam James

Millions of people in England and Wales could see a change in their usual bin collection time as a result of this week’s searing heatwave (Andy Gregory writes).

In an attempt to better protect collection crews from the extreme heat, many councils are instructing them to start and end their shifts earlier so they can avoid spending prolonged periods in the sun at the day’s peak.

Officials across southern England, from Bath to Surrey, those in Derby and Leicestershire further north, and in Newport, in Wales, are taking action to protect waste collection staff whose work could place them at risk.

Millions to see bin collection times change due to heatwave

Heatwave shows ‘our world needs help’, says WWF

Wednesday 13 July 2022 16:44 , Liam James

Britain’s latest heatwave shows the world “is in danger and needs our help”, the WWF said.

Scientists have warned heatwaves have become more frequent and more intense since the 1950s and blame human-induced climate change.

A rise in periods of intense heat risks not only human lives but those of animals too, through climate shock and habitat loss.

Katie White, executive director of advocacy and campaigns at WWF, said: “The current heatwave is yet another warning sign that our world is in danger and needs our help. Climate change is making extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, wildfires and droughts, both more frequent and more intense, harming people and nature.

“From puffins to bluebells, bumblebees and mountain hares, our wildlife in the UK is already feeling the heat from climate change and struggling to adapt, and we’re witnessing the needless destruction of nature around the globe, with record deforestation in the Amazon.

She added: “Whoever becomes the next prime minister needs to keep the UK government’s promises on climate and nature, and leadership candidates should outline how they plan to deliver.”

Ministers urged to convene second Cobra meeting to tackle heatwave pressure on NHS

Wednesday 13 July 2022 15:16 , Andy Gregory

Ministers have been urged to convene a Cobra meeting today to tackle how to protect the NHS from the extreme heat.

Speaking in the Commons, Liberal Democrat health spokeswoman Daisy Cooper called for what would mark the second emergency meeting over weather conditions in three days, which she said was necessary “to protect patients and paramedics who are really operating at the brink”.

Health minister Maria Caulfield said that demand for the health service was at “the sort of rates we would normally see in winter”, adding: “We have got a heatwave plan which was published earlier this year, we are confident and working with all NHS trusts to make sure that they have got the support that they need and all the ambulance trusts too.”

Ms Caulfield later added: “These are the sort of pressures we would normally expect to see in winter and we’re seeing them in the summer months, which is usually their down time and it’s extremely concerning for the months ahead as we do head into winter.

The minister said she was meeting with all 11 ambulance trusts – who are each currently at their highest alert level – in the coming days.

London mayor activates severe weather plan to support rough sleepers

Wednesday 13 July 2022 14:42 , Andy Gregory

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has triggered a severe weather emergency response – typically triggered by freezing temperatures – in the capital to support rough sleepers struggling to stay safe during the heatwave.

City Hall has written to all London boroughs and rough sleeping services to ask them to conduct welfare checks on vulnerable people and provide sunscreen, water and information about staying cool and safe in the high temperatures.

“This ongoing heatwave could be dangerous for anyone, but for people sleeping rough, there are additional risks,” Mr Khan said.

“Across the capital, we are taking action to assist those forced to sleep rough in these extremely high temperatures, by increasing welfare checks, providing plenty of water and sunscreen, and ensuring people sleeping rough know where to access cool spaces and water fountains.”

Wednesday 13 July 2022 14:07 , Andy Gregory

Here are some images from photojournalists of Lindley Wood reservoir, near Otley, during the hot weather today:

 (REUTERS/Lee Smith)
(REUTERS/Lee Smith)
 (REUTERS/Lee Smith)
(REUTERS/Lee Smith)
 (REUTERS/Lee Smith)
(REUTERS/Lee Smith)

What is a national heatwave emergency and what might that look like?

Wednesday 13 July 2022 13:34 , Andy Gregory

Government officials are meeting regularly to assess the impact of the current heat, and have not ruled out that the first-ever national heatwave emergency could be declared.

Our climate correspondent Saphora Smith takes a look at what we might expect if a national emergency were to be called:

All you need to know about national heatwave emergency and what it might look like

Londoners told to limit water consumption to prevent shortages

Wednesday 13 July 2022 12:59 , Andy Gregory

Thames Water has urged residents in London to limit their water consumption where possible in order to prevent shortages.

“During spells of hot weather, water usage can often rocket, with hoses and sprinklers watering gardens and paddling pools filled,” said Andrew Tucker, the utility firm’s water demand reduction manager. “That makes it even more important to be mindful of water usage to ensure there’s enough to go around for everyone.”

“While we’re not currently expecting to introduce restrictions on water use this summer, it’s important that households remain responsible with their usage and help us to limit the pressure on our resources.”

Thames Water said that more than 271,000 customers are listed on the priority services register who would struggle to get by should their home’s water supply be disrupted.

The firm is advising people to take shorter showers, reduce the use of garden hoses, and turn taps off when brushing your teeth.

Event: Expert panel to discuss the true scale of the NHS crisis

Wednesday 13 July 2022 12:50 , Andy Gregory

The current heatwave is piling pressure on an NHS already in crisis.

The Independent is hosting a free virtual event in which a panel of experts will discuss the way ahead, at 6:30pm this evening.

Our health correspondent Rebecca Thomas will host the panel including: our senior news correspondent Samuel Lovett; Sarah Tilsed, head of patient partnership at the Patients Association; Dr Adrian Boyle, an emergency consultant and the next president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine; and Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at NHS Confederation.

You can get your tickets here:

Expert panel to discuss the true scale of the NHS crisis

Met Office revises prediction of record-breaking heat from 30% chance to 20%

Wednesday 13 July 2022 12:27 , Andy Gregory

Our climate correspondent Saphora Smith reports:

The Met Office has now said they believe it’s less likely that the UK will record it's highest temperature ever on Sunday.

A meteorologist for the Met Office told The Independent they had revised their prediction down to about a one in five chance that temperatures will surpass the 38.7 degree 2019 record.

They still forecast the temperatures to reach the mid to high 30s, however.

The new forecast is down from an estimate on Monday that the chance of the record being broken was 30 per cent.

Looming heat a result of hot air currently over France

Wednesday 13 July 2022 12:11 , Andy Gregory

The extreme heat on its way this weekend is due to hot air flowing to the UK from the continent.

“What happens as we get into the weekend, the high pressure becomes centred to the east of the UK and that allow a southerly flow of air to drag up, the very warm air that’s over France at the moment, and drag it northwards to the UK over the weekend, perhaps more so on Sunday and into Monday,” said Met Office forecaster Matthew Box.

Heatwaves have been made hotter, longer and more frequent by climate change, and experts have warned of the need to adapt homes and cities in the UK for a future of more intense summer heat.

Government urged to introduce maximum legal working temperature

Wednesday 13 July 2022 11:42 , Andy Gregory

The government has been urged to introduce a maximum working temperature to help protect employees from tiredness, infections, heat stroke and death.

A total of 37 MPs have signed an early day motion (EDM), tabled in the House of Commons, to call for a limit of 30C in most workplaces or 27C for those doing strenuous work to be guaranteed in law.

Employers would have a legal duty to introduce “effective control measures”, such as installing ventilation or moving staff away from windows and sources of heat, under the proposals.

EDMs allow MPs to express an opinion, publicise a cause or support a position. It is rare for EDMs to be debated.

In pictures: Southeast England doused in heat

Wednesday 13 July 2022 11:06 , Andy Gregory

Here are some images illustrating the conditions in the southeast yesterday:

A man carries a fan as he walks in London (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
A man carries a fan as he walks in London (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Cracked earth is seen as hot weather continues, in Parliament Square (REUTERS/Toby Melville)
Cracked earth is seen as hot weather continues, in Parliament Square (REUTERS/Toby Melville)
A train passes through heat haze on a railway line near Ashford in Kent (Gareth Fuller/PA Wire)
A train passes through heat haze on a railway line near Ashford in Kent (Gareth Fuller/PA Wire)

Highs on Tuesday differed by 19C across UK, Met Office says

Wednesday 13 July 2022 10:29 , Andy Gregory

The Met Office has this visualisation of yesterday’s UK weather extremes – scorching heat of 31C in Surrey compared to highs of just 12C in Shetland, and nearly 13mm of rain in Achnagart, in the Scottish Highlands.

Met Office extends ‘danger to life' warning

Wednesday 13 July 2022 09:59 , Andy Gregory

The Met Office has extended its amber “danger to life” alert for a further 24 hours, meaning it will be in force from midnight on Saturday until the same time on Tuesday across nearly all of England.

The national forecaster is warning of widespread impacts on people and infrastructure, including:

  • Population-wide adverse health effects are likely to be experienced, not limited to those most vulnerable to extreme heat, leading to potential serious illness or danger to life. Government advice is that 999 services should be used in emergencies only; seek advice from 111 if you need non-emergency health advice

  • Substantial changes in working practices and daily routines likely to be required

  • Significantly more people are likely to visit coastal areas, lakes and rivers leading to increased risk of water safety incidents

  • Delays on roads and road closures are possible, along with delays and cancellations to rail and air travel, with potential for significant welfare issues for those who experience even moderate delays

 (Met Office)
(Met Office)

Warnings of danger to health, travel disruption and strain on ambulance service this weekend

Wednesday 13 July 2022 09:41 , Andy Gregory

Looking ahead to Sunday and Monday, there is an “amber” extreme heat warning covering much of England and Wales, with the Met Office warning there could be a danger to life or potential serious illness – with adverse health effects not just limited to the most vulnerable.

There could also be road closures, and delays and cancellations to rail and air travel, while ambulance services in England are on the highest level of alert as difficulties with the hot weather combine with Covid absences among staff and ongoing delays handing patients over to A&E.

London experiences ‘tropical night'

Wednesday 13 July 2022 09:07 , Andy Gregory

London experienced what is known as a “tropical night” on Tuesday, according to the Met Office – meaning that temperatures remained higher than 20C throughout the night.

Highest level alert for ambulances in UK

Wednesday 13 July 2022 08:32 , Shweta Sharma

All ambulance services across the UK have been put under “highest alert level” amid extremely high demand and soaring temperatures raise the risk to health.

Ambulance trusts in England said they are on the highest level alert - REAP 4 (Resource Escalation Action Plan 4), meaning they are under “extreme pressure”.

West Midlands Ambulance Service said they were on that level for a few months now.

South Central Ambulance Service has declared a critical incident “due to current pressures on our services” while warning of delays for patients with “less urgent needs”.

“We continue to prioritise our response to those patients with life-threatening and serious emergencies,” it said.

Association of Ambulance Chief Executives managing director Martin Flaherty said the NHS ambulance sector is under “intense pressure”

He said “all ambulance services operating at the highest level of four within their local resource escalation action plans, normally only ever reserved for major incidents or short-term periods of unusual demand”.

“Severe delays in ambulance crews being able to hand over their patients at many hospital emergency departments are having a very significant impact on the ambulance sector’s ability to respond to patients as quickly as we would like to, because our crews and vehicles are stuck outside those hospitals.”

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