“Health weather forecasts” to be piloted in England
- By: Roger Dobson
“Health weather forecasts” are being piloted in five regions of England. The forecasts are being designed to give hospitals, bed managers, and GPs early warning of increases in illnesses that may be linked to changes in the weather, such as heart attacks, strokes, respiratory diseases, infectious diseases, and broken bones.
Although levels of ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and pollen counts are included in some weather forecasts, this is thought to be the first time that comprehensive weather forecasts related to health have been developed.
Dr William Bird, an Oxfordshire GP and a keen weather enthusiast, has been working half time with the weather centre at Bracknell to develop the idea, and with the Met Office (the UK's national weather service), Oxford University, and the Public Health Laboratory Service.
A pilot service has now been set up in five areas: Leeds, Wolverhampton, Reading, Plymouth, and north London (at the North Middlesex