Taking the Heat out of Hospitals
Vulnerable people to benefit from health/research collaboration on climate change.
The summer heat wave that hit Britain in 2006 caused an estimated 2000 excess deaths. For hospitals, such statistics are particularly concerning. Overheating is already starting to pose problems for patients, as well as staff, and rising temperatures could badly compromise future care.
“Hospital patients are vulnerable people and liable to suffer disproportionately when temperatures climb”, says Professor Alan Short of Cambridge University.
Funded by the LWEC-accredited Adaptation and Resilience to a Changing Climate initiative, Professor Short is leading a pioneering collaborative project – Design and Delivery of Robust Hospital Environments in a Changing Climate.
“We’re looking at how existing hospital buildings can be redesigned to adapt to and mitigate climate change.”
NHS Trusts in Bradford, Cambridge, Leicester and West Hertfordshire are taking part, enabling the team to collect real-world data and devise practical measures that enhance climate resilience and help cut the NHS’s annual £0.5 billion energy bill and 18 million-tonne carbon footprint. Installing better heating controls, removing false walls and ceilings, reducing glazed areas and introducing shading are just some of the potential pathways that could achieve results.
For hospitals like Bradford’s Royal Infirmary and St Luke’s Hospital, the value of participating is clear. “It’s critical that hospitals can deliver effective and sustainable patient care that isn’t undermined by climate change and that’s consistent with carbon and energy saving targets”, says Ian Hinitt of the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. “With their diverse building stock, our hospitals are the perfect crucible for trialling a range of measures that could be replicated by other hospitals at home and abroad.”
Watch a film about the work here http://upload.sms.cam.ac.uk/media/1152091