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Saturday 22nd October 2016

Could global warming cut deaths?

13th February 2008

Health experts have warned there is a high risk of fatal heatwave in the UK over the next decade.


A Department of Health document predicts that a particularly hot summer between now and 2017 could see more than 6,000 deaths as a result.

However, it also indicates that milder winters from global warming could see deaths during the colder months - which are higher than those due to heat – will continue to fall.

With the Health Protection Agency, the department commissioned scientific experts to examine how the country has responded to rising temperatures in the last three decades, to look at how those risks will change and help health services prepare for the impact of that climate change.

It found there was no change in heat-related deaths as summers in Britain became warmer between 1971 and 2003 but deaths due to cold weather dropped by 3%.

A willingness to adapt to changing temperatures and make lifestyle alterations is a key reason for the falling deaths. But a 25% chance of heatwave by 2017 could see figures rise.

Breathing difficulties could lead to rising hospital admissions and there is also likely to be an increase in skin cancers.

Public health minister Dawn Primarolo said: “Climate change poses great challenges and it is important to plan ahead for the health consequences.?

Gill Morgan from the NHS Confederation, said: “As the report highlights, rising temperatures will put significant pressure on the NHS, and may increase the amount of heat-related deaths and skins cancers, as well as respiratory and insect-borne diseases.?


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