Heatwave drives huge increase in fainting incidents in Hackney as thousands flock to London Fields Lido
11:52 22 July 2013
Emergency services felt the heat this week as Hackney sizzled in soaring temperatures.
Ambulance staff reported a surge in life threatening incidents increase – up by 31 per cent – while it has also seen a 95 per cent increase in the number of people fainting in the borough since the start of the heatwave, which has been the longest since 2006.
Meanwhile, admissions at Homerton Hospital’s Accident and Emergency department have shot up 17 per cent to around 350 a day.
Ambulance operations manager Nick Yard said: “We always see a rise in 999 calls in hot weather; for a variety of reasons including people forgetting to keep hydrated and the heat making pre-existing conditions like asthma worse.
“I’d ask the people of City & Hackney to help us to respond to the most seriously ill and injured by only calling 999 in a genuine emergency.
“Anyone with a minor condition should consider other healthcare options such as visiting their GP, local pharmacy or calling 111.
“Among the types of calls that we have seen an increase in are patients with breathing problems, chest pains and fainting. Staff have also treated more patients with alcohol-related injuries and illnesses.”
A spokesman from Homerton Hospital said that visits to Accident and Emergency had gone up by 17 per cent during the heatwave with around 350 visits a day. He said: “We are seeing more patients coming to the hospital with respiratory problems which is often a by-product of a period of hot weather; a slight increase in the numbers of people coming into hospital with alcohol related problems and we are also seeing injuries from people being outside such as sprains and fractures from playing around in parks or pools, and DIY incidents.”
But thousands have also been basking in the spell of unusually hot weather, many of whom flocked to the London Fields Lido to cool down. The number of visitors to the 50 metre outdoor heated pool doubled this month compared to June – with nearly 2,000 a day visiting the pool between July 1 and 19.
A spokeswoman from Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), the organisation which manages the pool, said that they had seen 36,000 visitors to the outdoor facility. This compares to 24,500 visitors to the Lido in June.
But Del Bremner, spokesman for Friends of Regent’s Canal, warned against hot and bothered people jumping into the Regent’s Canal to cool down, saying: “Nobody should swim in the canal to cool off as the canal is very deep in places. People can get stuck down there. It’s a very dangerous place and there are no lifebuoys around the canal.”
Louise Bloor, co-founder of Hackney’s gourmet ice-pop company Urban Ices said demand had surged by 300 per cent. Ms Bloor said that they had sold hundreds of ice-pops in the last week and were working round the clock to keep up with demand.
A Tower Hamlets council spokesman said around 35,000 people had visited Victoria Park since the start of July, but Hackney Council said it was unable to provide any figures on the number of people visiting parks in Hackney.