Heat-health watch service

It has been in operation for a number of years and is designed to help healthcare professionals manage through periods of extreme temperature. Should thresholds for an alert be reached outside of this period, an extraordinary heat-health alert will be issued and stakeholders are advised to take the usual public health actions.

The Met Office forecasts day-time and night-time maximum temperatures, which are monitored regionally. When certain heat thresholds are passed, a warning is issued and sent to relevant health professionals and people working in social care as well as displayed on our website. This enables health and social care professionals to take action to minimise the impact of the heat on people's health.

What the levels mean:

Level 0: Long-term planning to reduce risk from heatwaves and includes year-round joint working to reduce the impact of climate change and ensure maximum adaptation to reduce harm from heatwaves. This level is there to serve as a reminder to authorities of the need to plan in advance of the summer months to ensure preparedness.

Level 1: Green — Summer preparedness and long-term planning

This is the minimum state of vigilance during the summer. During this time social and healthcare services will ensure that all awareness and background preparedness work is ongoing.

Level 2: Yellow — Alert and readiness

Triggered as soon as the risk is 60% or above for threshold temperatures being reached in one or more regions on at least two consecutive days and the intervening night. This is an important stage for social and healthcare services who will be working to ensure readiness and swift action to reduce harm from a potential heatwave.

Level 3: Amber — Heatwave action

Triggered when the Met Office confirms threshold temperatures for one of more regions have been reached for one day and the following night, and the forecast for the next day has a greater than 90% confidence level that the day threshold temperature will be met. This stage requires social and healthcare services to target specific actions at high-risk groups.

Level 4: Red — National Emergency

Reached when a heatwave is so severe and/or prolonged that its effects extend outside the health and social care system. At this level, illness and death may occur among the fit and healthy, and not just in high-risk groups.