Hospitals, schools and care homes braced for record temperatures in Harrogate district
Last updated Jul 17, 2022
Harrogate District Hospital.

Schools, care homes and public services across the Harrogate district are putting in place measures to protect vulnerable people from the extreme temperatures expected today and tomorrow.

With the Met Office forecasting highs of 38C and red warnings in place, there is a risk to health, especially for the elderly, very young and people with existing medical conditions.


Ice creams for hospital patients

Measures are being put in place to help patients and staff keep cool at Harrogate District Hospital and Ripon Community Hospital.

On the wards and in outpatient areas, temperatures will be monitored and air conditioning units are available if needed. High risk patients will be watched closely and ice creams and lollies will be available to help people cool down.

A spokesperson for Harrogate District NHS Foundation Trust said staff have been given advice on ways to keep cool while working during the heatwave, including wearing light-weight scrubs.

Some appointments where physical exertion is needed, such as physio appointments, may be postponed until the weather is cooler.

The spokesperson said:

“Our emergency department is always busy and under pressure during severe weather due to an increased number of people visiting our hospital – some with heat related illnesses such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

“Waiting times to be seen during these times can be longer than usual due to demand.”

Anyone considering going to the emergency department is asked to call NHS 111 first or visit the 111 service online, unless it is a severe or life-threatening situation.

The service can offer advice and even book people in to be seen quickly on arrival if a hospital visit is needed.

Anyone arriving without an appointment will still be seen, with the most urgent cases being dealt with first.


Council bin collections to start earlier

A new recycling wheelie bin to be trialled in Knaresborough

Harrogate Borough Council has made some adjustments to its services in order to keep staff safe.

A spokesperson said:

“Waste and recycling collection rounds will be starting earlier in the morning to enable rounds to be completed earlier and limit work time in the hottest part of the day.

“In relation to our Brimhams Active health and wellbeing services, all staff cover heat exhaustion as part of their staff training, they will be reminded of what to look for and how to treat any incidences.

“At our community wellbeing hubs we have plans in place to increase breaks and water at all sessions.

“We are using the government guidance for vulnerable adults and will err on the side of caution and cancel when/if appropriate.”

Risk assessments have been completed for extreme heat and adjustments made, including for staff working outdoors. The spokesperson said there may be some changes to services if required to protect staff and vulnerable residents.

Read more:

Extra checks on vulnerable residents

As the public health authority for the Harrogate district, North Yorkshire County Council has issued advice about keeping homes cool, including:

  • closing curtains and windows in rooms facing the sun
  • turning off unneeded electrical appliances
  • finding shade outside, which may be cooler than indoors
  • not leaving anyone, including children, the elderly and animals, inside a closed, parked vehicle
  • storing medication according to packet instructions
  • ensuring fridges, freezers and fans are working properly

The council’s director of public health, Louise Wallace, said:

“Those in our communities who may be more vulnerable will be receiving increased checks on them throughout hot spells.

“However, we would appeal to those who are able to take the time to check whether friends, relatives and neighbours need help and to call for assistance if necessary.

“Public buildings operated by the county council will also be kept as cool as possible while temperatures remain high, but we would advise people to avoid making unnecessary journeys while the weather remains hot.


Care homes focus on hydration

Jill Young, operations director at Vida Healthcare, said its homes have plans in place ready to be activated in the event of a heatwave and some measures began to be introduced last week.

She said hydration was a particular focus, as well as adapted menus with cold foods to reduce use of ovens in the kitchen, adding:

“During hot weather, we also introduce extra fluid measures. Our chefs make jelly sweets that contain 20ml of water per sweet – our residents love them and it can be a straightforward way of giving them a little extra fluid.

“Our freezers are kept stocked with ice creams and ice lollies for both staff and residents which are available at all times, and our residents also have access to jugs of juice and water in their rooms and the communal areas.

“We’re very lucky that all three of our homes have access to secure outdoor spaces with shaded areas that our residents can enjoy.

“If a resident is keen to go outside, our staff will make sure they’re wearing a hat and suncream, and will encourage them to sit in the shade to keep safe from the sun.”

At Emmaus House, opposite Harrogate’s Valley Gardens, manager Chrissie Steel said extra jugs of cold squash will be placed around the home.

“For people with dementia, they may not be able to recognise they are thirsty, or to tell us they need a drink, but they can often point to a jug if they see one.

“We’re very fortunate to be close to the Valley Gardens to get outside when it’s cool enough – and many of our residents who have spent time in Africa earlier in life absolutely love this heat!”


Schools relax uniform policy

Some schools have relaxed uniform policies for Monday and Tuesday, allowing students to attend in light-weight clothing.

Many have said they will keep children indoors during the hottest part of the day and will be ensuring they drink more water than usual.

NYCC public health director Louise Wallace said:

“Staff in schools are aware of the potential risks created by a heatwave and school children should aim to have sun cream applied before attending school next week, and ensure they have a refillable water bottle with them.”


Warning over power supplies

Northern Powergrid has warned the high temperatures could cause disruption to power supplies.

It has asked people to report power cuts via its website or by calling 105.

Anyone who could need more assistance in a power cut, such as people with medical conditions or disabilities, or families with very young children, can sign up for priority services membership and will be kept updated during any disruption.

A spokesperson for Northern Powergrid said:

“Our customer support vehicles are also prepped and ready to go out into local communities, where possible.

“We have also taken action to remind our people of the importance of staying hydrated and protected so they can continue to work safely during the hot weather.”