As a result of global warming, many countries, including the UK, are experiencing increasing periods of hot weather, or heatwaves. These are a risk to public health, as high temperatures can lead to an increase in mortality and morbidity, particularly among vulnerable people. For example, the heatwave in 2003 led to an extra 2,000 deaths in the UK.
The Heatwave Plan for England (HWP) was developed as a result of that heatwave. The HWP aims to ‘prepare for, alert people to, and prevent major avoidable effects on health during periods of severe heat in England' (Public Health England 2015). It includes a Heat-Health alert system and provides advice and guidance on the dangers of hot weather to the public and to health and social care agencies. However, there is, not much information on how effective the HWP is and how it is being implemented locally, particularly at the frontline of health and social care.
PIRU has been asked by the Department of Health and Public Health England to carry out an independent evaluation of the HWP so that it may be improved in future years.
Our evaluation is looking at three broad questions:
There will be three strands to our mixed methods evaluation:
The project will run from spring 2017 to autumn 2018.
It is expected that the findings from the evaluation will identify opportunities for improving the HWP in future years.
A report from the study should be available in late 2018.