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Cold Weather Plan for England 2014 Launched

 

Public Health England have launched The Cold Weather Plan for England. Despite the warming effects of climate change, cold weather remains, the biggest cause of weather related mortality in England. The Cold Weather Plan for England (‘the plan’) aims to prevent avoidable harm to health, by alerting people to the negative health effects of cold weather, and enabling them to prepare and respond appropriately.

The plan recommends a series of steps, to be taken throughout the year, to reduce the risks to health from cold weather for:

 the NHS, local authorities, social care, and other public agencies

 professionals working with people at risk

 individuals, local communities and voluntary groups

The plan is published by Public Health England but developed in partnership with the Department of Health, NHS England, the Local Government Association, the Voluntary and Community sector and other stakeholders.

The Cold Weather Plan has been published annually since 2011. This year’s plan builds on the experience of developing and improving the ability of the health and social care sector and its partners to deal with significant periods of cold weather.

Most of the actions identified in the Cold Weather Plan 2013 have been carried forward into the 2014 edition. Key changes which have been made include:

 Revison of the indoor temperature guidance in light of a recent literature review and stakeholder consultation to a broad minimum temperature threshold for homes in winter of at least 18°C (65F), with additional flexibility of advice for vulnerable groups and healthy people

   updating the advice on flu vaccination to be consistent with this years’ recommnedations  

  publication of a 4 page stand alone brochure  containing key actions to reduce the harm from cold this winter: ‘Making Every Contact Count for  Winter’ This will be made available shortly after the Cold Weather Plan on the same webpage.

Cold Weather Alerts

To support the Plan, the Met Office will issue Cold Weather Alerts from 1 November 2014 to 31 March 2015. There are five levels:

 Level 0 (long term planning, all year)

 Level 1 (winter preparedness and action, 1 Nov to 31 March)

 Level 2 (severe winter weather is forecast) – mean temperature of 2°C and/or widespread ice and heavy snow are predicted within 48 hours, with 60% confidence

 Level 3 (response to severe winter weather) mean temperature of 2°C ad/or widespread ice and heavy snow is now occurring

 Level 4 (major incident – declared by central government)

Detailed tables are available in the main body of the plan. Followed by key public health messages to protect health in cold weather.

The plan is a good practice guide and the actions denoted within it are illustrative. It is a collaborative plan supported by PHE, NHS England, the Local Government Association, the Met Office and the Department of Health to protect and promote the health of the population of England.

 

A series of leaflets have also been produced for health autorities, voluntary sector, front line staff and individuals

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VCS_action_card_GPs_17October_2014

For other advice and information about being more prepared for severe weather visit http://www.birminghamprepared.gov.uk/advice/specific-risks/snow-and-low-temperatures/

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