National adaptation programme

The health system is taking great strides to mitigate climate change by reducing its emissions and acting more sustainably.

However, this will not protect it from the effects of climate change such as longer and more frequent heat waves, increased flooding, harsher cold snaps and the impact these events will have on healthcare services.  During the 2003 European heat wave 35,000 people died, 1500 of whom lived in England.  Adapting to climate change is a necessary strategy.  It will ensure high quality services are maintained when there is an influx of patients during critical climate events. 

To enable the health system to prepare for these events the SDU and its partners have developed updated guidance to help the health system adapt to climate change.

Adaptation to Climate Change for Health and Social Care organisations summarises the current knowledge on adapting to climate change in health care organisations. It describes what climate change adaptation is, why it is a priority and how organisations can include adaptation in their Sustainable Development Management Plans (SDMPs). 

National Adaptation Programme (NAP)

Led by Defra, the Government's Adapting to Climate Change policy work has led to the publication of the National Adaptation Programme (NAP).  This programme  sets out what government, businesses, and society are doing to become more climate ready and can be downloaded below or by clicking here.

Related documents can be found on the government website here  


The issues around heatwaves and building temperature control are covered in a film examining how existing National Health Service hospital architecture may be refurbished to become more resilient to extreme summer heatwaves. The film can be viewed here.

The 2013 National Heatwave Plan for England seeks to prepare for and prevent the major avoidable effects on health during periods of severe heat in England. 

Supporting older people and building resilience to extreme weather

Living With Environmental Change (LWEC0 have produced a guidance note to describe how serviced can continue to support the wellbeing of older people and be resilient to extreme weather. You can download the guidance here.