GPs warned to expect surge in demand as cold weather hits

GPs and health services in the north of England have been warned to expect rising numbers of consultations from vulnerable patients as temperatures drop.

Cold weather: surge in patient demand predicted
Cold weather: surge in patient demand predicted

A level 3 alert has been issued in Yorkshire and Humber, and in north-east and north-west England, as snow and freezing temperatures are forecast.

Public Health England’s cold weather plan for England advises GPs to expect a surge in demand in the near future, prioritise patients who are vulnerable to cold, and ensure patients and staff are aware of the effect of cold weather on health.

The number of patients with severe asthma has doubled since this time last year, and rates of lower respiratory tract infection are much higher than in previous years, figures from Public Health England show.

Figures published earlier this week revealed flu rates are at their highest in three years.

The Met Office has also issued a level 2 alert for the West Midlands, the East Midlands and the east of England, where cold weather is expected.

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