Health services are being pushed to the limit in Peterborough as the hot weather has seen an ‘exceptionally’ high demand for services.
An amber heat warning has been issued for the weekend, which is likely to see demand increase for the already under pressure East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) and Peterborough City Hospital.
It has been reported that all ambulance services in the country – including the East of England service, which covers Peterborough and Cambridgeshire – are at REAP level 4. REAP is the Resource Escalation Action Plan and REAP 4 is the highest escalation level which indicates extreme pressure.
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Now health bosses are urging people to take extra care during the hot weather to ease the pressure on staff.
Phil Walmsley, Chief Operating Officer at North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Peterborough City, Hinchingbrooke and Stamford and Rutland Hospitals, said: “When we see very high temperatures outside, our Trust activates the Heatwave
Policy in order to help our staff manage in the hot weather, as well as keep our patients as comfortable as possible.
“We have seen an increase in people presenting with dehydration in the last few days, and would urge everyone to ensure they are exercising caution and acting accordingly to the outside weather during the summer months.
“Our hospitals remain extremely busy and we are seeing an increased demand for our services overall, especially within the emergency department. If you require healthcare services but it is not an emergency, then please call NHS 111 for advice on where best to seek treatment.”
An EEAST spokesperson said: “The Trust has been experiencing exceptionally high demand for its services since the weekend and we are working hard to prioritise the patients who need us most urgently.
“With high temperatures forecast for the next week, the public can help us by taking care of themselves in hot weather by following advice on the NHS website, using NHS 111 for other healthcare advice, and only calling 999 in an emergency. This means we can prioritise those that need our help the most.”
The service has welfare vans on the road to get bottled water to crews if they are at protracted incidents or there is a delay in the handover of patients at hospitals.
Heatwave advice from the UK Health Security Agency:
look out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated – older people, those with underlying conditions and those who live alone are particularly at risk
stay cool indoors by closing curtains on rooms that face the sun – and remember that it may be cooler outdoors than indoors
drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol
never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm, when the UV rays are strongest
walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat, if you have to go out in the heat
avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day
make sure you take water with you if you are travelling
take care and make sure to follow safety advice if you are going into the water to cool down