What Worsening Climate Disruptions Mean for NHS Premises Assurance
How the right technology can help NHS Trusts plan and prepare for climate-related risk
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Weather-related incidents are only set to become more common as the climate worsens,so NHS Trusts need to have a more comprehensive and further-ranging view of the risks that could affect their hospitals and throw their services into disarray...
On 26th July, two east London hospitals asked patients to stay away after their emergency departments were hit by flooding. Whipps Cross was without power and was forced to evacuate 100 inpatients, while Newham hospital had to divert ambulances, turn away patients and ask them to use other A&Es for urgent care. The Barts Health NHS Trust declared a major incident as all planned surgery and outpatient appointments were cancelled.
Similarly, on 28th July, A fire broke out at Trafford General Hospital in Greater Manchester after it was struck by lightning during heavy thunderstorms, forcing staff and over 66 patients to evacuate the entire two-storey building. Even though the fire was eventually extinguished with no loss of life, the significant damage to the roof meant that Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust were forced to close down the entire Minor Injuries unit and cancel all day case procedures – a significant setback at a time when Trusts around the country are battling the reduce the unprecedented waiting lists for treatments. It was a painful day for a hospital that has a place in history as the first hospital to be opened when the NHS was founded in 1948.
You might be forgiven for thinking that lightning couldn’t strike twice and that these weather extremes are rare or unprecedented, but according to the experts, weather-related incidents are only set to become more common as the climate worsens.
Prepared by 234 scientists from 66 countries and drawing on more than 14,000 scientific studies, the latest IPCC report gives us the most comprehensive and detailed picture yet of how climate change is altering the world around us - and what could still be ahead. The report has made it clear that global warming is dangerously close to spiralling out of control, and that the world is already certain to face further climate disruptions for decades, if not centuries, to come. As temperatures continue to rise, weather patterns around the globe will continue to go haywire, with heatwaves, storms and severe flooding becoming almost annual occurrences.
As a result, NHS Trusts need to have a more comprehensive and further-ranging view of the risks that could affect their hospitals and throw their services into disarray. Whips Cross, Newham and Trafford General were all relatively lucky in that there was no injury or loss of life but given the huge range of complex and life-impacting risks that healthcare organisations must manage every day, it’s only a matter of time until a climate-related disruption causes harm or even death to patients and staff, rather than “only” causing damage to premises and bringing a halt to critical services.
It’s becoming increasingly clear then, that NHS Trusts must ensure that they’ve implemented a robust PAM system that’s capable enough to help them predict climate-related risk and plan the actions to mitigate them. Not only must such a system help them to continually and consistently keep up to date with changes to relevant regulations, but it must also help them modernise and break free from the hodgepodge of disparate systems, spreadsheets, reports and documents that all too many Trusts currently make do with for all their required data, making it difficult to draw together all the evidence-related information they need to complete their self-assessment questions.
Ideally, Trusts need a solution like our new InPhase PAM app – a quick and cost-effective app to help them manage their premises assurance model more easily than ever across the Trust and ensure that the estate is safe, high quality and efficient. Designed after listening to our NHS customers, it helps them easily access and all the evidence they need by tying everything together with risks and related actions to deliver complete oversight in one place.
In a world where weather-related risks are undeniably growing in frequency and severity, the InPhase PAM app is just what the doctor ordered to help keep staff, patients and premises safe…
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About the Author
Having worked in both the private and public sectors Paul has spent the last 8 years focusing on improving performance, reducing costs and providing board level assurance through software implementation and data analysis.
Working predominantly with NHS Organisations Paul has a wealth of experience in reviewing business processes, creating strategic improvement plans and tracking benefits realisation.