Warning hospitals will be ‘really, really pushed’ as temperatures may hit 41C

   (PA Archive)
(PA Archive)

Hospitals are going to be “really, really pushed” over the next few days in the heatwave, it has been warned.

It comes as scorching temperatures may hit 41C in parts of the UK early next week on Monday and Tuesday.

Lord Victor Adebowale, the chairman of the NHS Confderation, said the NHS will “cope” but “coping isn’t good enough”.

The NHS faces its latest challenges due to the heatwave, Covid and social care.

Speaking about the next few days, he told Times Radio: “My members are pretty stretched at the moment. Ambulances are operating at their peak, the waiting times for ambulances are now getting longer.

“We are going to be really, really pushed and it’s not just the red warning, the heatwave. We are dealing with Covid, which is causing sickness in our ambulance crews, which is one of the reasons we’ve got vacancies. And we’ve also got a social care challenge, which is we can’t get people out of hospital because social care is on its knees.”

He added: “The NHS will cope but coping isn’t good enough. We need to be actually operating in a way that allows people to get the treatment they need wherever needed, in good time. And that’s a struggle.”

Lord Victor Adebowale voiced concerns about hospital and general practice buildings not being built for the heat.

He said: “It’s not just hospitals, I need to mention primary care GPs. Many of them are in old buildings where they don’t have proper air conditioning or fans.”

More call handlers, support for the fleet and extra hours of capacity within ambulances have been set up for the hot spell.

Steve Barclay told the BBC: “The clear message to the public is to take the sensible steps in terms of water, shade and cover, that many people are aware of. That’s the best way of mitigating against the heat.

“We’re asking people to keep an eye out for their neighbours and those who may be vulnerable.

“We’re also putting in additional contingency support as well.”

Elsewhere, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has said people should be resilient enough to be able to “enjoy the sunshine”.

Mr Raab urged people to take “common sense” precautions as the temperatures rise.

“Obviously there is some common sense practical advice we are talking about – stay hydrated, stay out of the sun at the hottest times, wear sun cream – those sorts of things,” he told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme.

“We ought to enjoy the sunshine and actually we ought to be resilient enough through some of the pressures it will place.”