NHS on severe weather alert as snow falls across UK

NHS contingency plans for dealing with severe cold weather have been activated as much of the UK is hit by heavy snowfall and freezing conditions.

Snow: health warnings issued across UK (photo: Istock)
Snow: health warnings issued across UK (photo: Istock)

The Met Office has issued a level three severe cold weather alert for England and Wales. It means this weather could increase health risks to vulnerable patients and cause possible disruption to NHS services. It is only one level below that of a national emergency.

As a result, NHS cold weather plans will be activated. The plans advise GP practices to:

  • Work with other NHS and social care, community and voluntary organisations to ensure strategic coordination of response, taking into account the likely surge in demand for primary care in the days following a cold spell.
  • Be prepared to activate business continuity plan.
  • Ensure that staff are aware of cold weather risks and are able to advise patients appropriately.

The Met Office issued a rare red warning for snow for parts of south Wales, meaning significant disruption to everyday life and a risk to personal safety. Here, as much as 30cm of snow is expected. Amber and yellow warnings are in place across much of the rest of England and Wales, meaning the public should be prepared for disruption to transport.

Has your surgery been affected by the snow? Tweet us @gponlinenews

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