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Nurses ‘exhausted, sick and dizzy’ amid heatwave

One nurse ended up in A&E with dehydration.

Nurses have reported feeling exhausted, sick and dizzy as the hot weather raises temperatures in hospitals.

One nurse was admitted to A&E with dehydration after working three 12-hours shifts in a row during the heatwave, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said.

Earlier this week, the organisation warned that patients and relatives were passing out and vomiting, with temperatures on some wards exceeding 30C (86F).

It also said some nurses were not allowed to take water bottles on to wards.

Kim Sunley, national officer at the RCN, said: “Nurses are now becoming patients themselves due to the heat.

“We have heard from one member who ended up in A&E suffering from dehydration, after working 12-hour shifts back to back in temperatures exceeding 30C.

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Heatwave warning (PA Graphics)

“Others have reported exhaustion, sickness and dizziness.

“This is not acceptable. Good patient care depends on nurses and clinical support assistants being well enough to perform their jobs effectively.

“It is vital employers adapt working practices to the heat. Both patients and nurses must have easy access to water, and all healthcare staff should be able to take regular breaks, preferably somewhere cool.”

Meanwhile, NHS Providers – the trade body which represents NHS services – said hospitals are struggling to cope in the heat and some are back to “winter conditions”.

Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive, said: “Some trusts are reporting record numbers of people coming in to A&E, with increased emergency admissions, often for respiratory problems and conditions made worse by dehydration.

“We have heard concerns about large numbers of people from care homes requiring treatment.

“This extra activity is leading to delays for patients requiring planned operations such as knee and hip replacements.

“The extreme heat has also highlighted the shortcomings of ageing buildings which are not designed or equipped to deal with these conditions.

“Staff and patients are paying the price now for past decisions to delay investment in the NHS estate.”

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