Extreme Temperature Events and the NHS Estate

On a Masters programme at the University of Cambridge I was part of a team that undertook a study on climate resilience in NHS hospital ward design under the guidance of Prof Alan Short. I would like to present our findings.

The presentation will begin by reading a small excerpt from David MacKay’s compelling account of unbearable heat endured in Addenbrookes Hospital; where he spent his last days on earth. (http://itila.blogspot.com/ ) David was a former Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change.

The presentation will then briefly address the wider context of climate challenges and healthcare estates including: increasing frequency and severity of extreme climate events, requirement for greater energy efficiency. This will touch on one example.

Attendees will then hear some explanation of our study which was undertaken through a questionnaire presented to various stakeholders. The vast majority of respondents were nurses who followed a link to our questionnaire from a Nursing Times article.
Findings suggest:
1. That the majority of NHS hospital wards are too hot for patients in summer. It is highly likely that this is increasing costs due to longer patient recovery times.
2. With the increasing frequency and severity of extreme heat events more thought must be given to how we can best mitigate excessive heat in hospital wards.
3. Facilities managers appear to have a more positive view of thermal comfort than clinical staff.
4. Glass facades tend to contribute to unpleasant heat gain.

In closing attendees will be challenged to consider what impact they can have in addressing these issues; touching on some examples and ideas.