Heat wave puts pressure on Luton and Dunstable Hospital A&E - as Met Office issues 'danger to life' warning

The extreme heat in recent days is impacting on Luton’s health services

By Lynn Hughes
Tuesday, 12th July 2022, 12:18 pm

The Luton and Dunstable Hospital has issued a plea this week asking people to only attend its A&E department if it’s a medical emergency.

Cathy Jones, Chief Operating Officer, said: “Both our Emergency Departments at the L&D and Bedford are extremely busy, with some patients unfortunately experiencing long waits. As always, we have to prioritise those with medical emergencies and would ask that for those with more minor injuries and illnesses, to please contact their GP or NHS 111 in the first instance.”

The NHS has also issued tips for coping in hot weather.

People are being advised to stay away from the hospital's A&E department unless it's a medical emergency

>look out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated – older people, those with underlying health conditions and those who live alone are particularly at risk

>stay cool indoors – many of us will need to stay safe at home this summer so know how to keep your home cool including closing curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors

>if going outdoors, use cool spaces considerately, keep your distance in line with social distancing guidelines

>follow coronavirus social distancing guidance and wash your hands regularly

>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

>walk in the shade, apply sunscreen regularly and wear a wide brimmed hat, if you have to go out in the heat

>avoid exercising in the hottest parts of the day

>make sure you take water with you, if you are travelling

>if you are going into open water to cool down, take care and follow local safety advice

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Remember that while coronavirus restrictions are in place, you will need to follow government guidance to use public spaces safely

For more information visit GOV.UK: Heatwave Plan for England.

If you have concerns about an uncomfortably hot house that's affecting your health or someone else's, get medical advice.

You can also get help from the environmental health office at your local authority. They can inspect a home for hazards to health, including excess heat.

The Met Office has also issued warnings for Sunday and Monday in the area with temperatures expected to reach 34 degrees in Luton on Monday.

Its advice states: “Exceptionally high temperatures are possible during Sunday and Monday and could lead to widespread impacts on people and infrastructure

“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.

It also states substantial changes in working practices and daily routines are likely to be required and significantly more people are likely to visit coastal areas, lakes and rivers leading to increased risk of water safety incidents

There could also be 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.”