Amber heat health alert for huge swathes of UK with warning of risk of death

A worrying amber level heat-health alert has been issued for huge swathes of the UK as high temperatures continue leading to an increased ‘risk of mortality’ for some groups.

According to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the prolonged warm weather could lead to “significant impacts” on the health and social care sector with an increase in “mortality” across the population “likely”.

The government body said certain parts of the population, those aged 65 and over and people with certain health conditions, could be affected, as well as younger age groups.

The amber warning, for an “enhanced hot weather response”, is in place for the East of England, London and the South East until 9am tomorrow (Tuesday), which was issued at 4pm on Sunday (September 10).

The agency said in a statement: “Significant impacts are expected across the health and social care sector due to the high temperatures, including: observed increase in mortality across the population likely, particularly in the 65+ age group or those with health conditions, but impacts may also be seen in younger age groups.”

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The UKHSA warning continued saying indoor temperatures inside hospitals and care homes may exceed the threshold and impact on the ability of services to be delivered.

It also warned people being cared for in the community may be impacted and that the high temperatures could affect staffing levels as well as public transport.

Yellow heat-health alerts have been issued for Yorkshire and The Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands and the South West.

These warnings mean minor impacts are possible across the health and care sector but there was still an “increased risk of mortality” amongst “vulnerable individuals” and “increased potential for indoor environments to become very warm”.

The high temperature warnings for healthcare settings coincide with Covid and flu vaccines are being rolled out across England from today (Monday), starting with people in care homes and those who are housebound.

The Covid-19 and flu vaccination programme is starting earlier than planned after a new variant of coronavirus was detected in the UK.

While the variant, known as BA.2.86, has not been classified as a “variant of concern”, scientists have said that it carries a high number of mutations and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is watching it closely.

Adults in the general population who are eligible for Covid and flu vaccines – including those aged 65 and over, people in at-risk groups and the immunosuppressed – will begin to be invited by the NHS to get their jabs from next week.

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