South West health officials urge people to 'act responsibly' under 'extreme heat'

The West Country has seen prolonged hot weather (archive image). Credit: ITV West Country

High temperatures have continued to increase pressure on key services and have prompted warnings for people to keep out of the sun. 

Temperatures have regularly been around 30 degrees celsius since the weekend which has prompted the Met Office to issue a brand new type of warning for "Extreme heat".

Cornwall's public health department has urged people to act responsibly in the sun which will help to protect local health services under pressure.

The South Western Ambulance Service has said it has experienced an increase in demand during the heatwave, responding to a record number of incidents over the weekend at an average of two call-outs every minute.

Credit: ITV West Country

James Merrell leads a team of nurses at Torbay Hospital's A and E department and says demand on staff and services is at record-breaking levels:

"For the last few weeks it's been under significant pressure - as have most NHS organisations up and down the country."

James praised staff for how they have coped so far, but warned "Emergency care should only be sought as a last resort" to avoid putting extra strain on services.

Hospitals in Devon and Cornwall have also seen an increase in children being brought to A & E departments and urgent treatment centres.

Dr Janine Glazier is the clinical lead for urgent treatment at Camborne and Redruth Community Hospital and has been explaining how the sun and high temperatures has been affecting young people:

"We're seeing a rise in people coming to us for advice because their children are in pain and unhappy because of sunburn.

"Children that are generally unwell, maybe vomiting, unable to keep fluids down... really what's happened is they've been in the sun all day and started to get a little bit of heat exhaustion, which in children can present as nausea and a little bit of vomiting.

[This means] they can't keep their fluids down and then they become a bit poorly so mum and dad are bringing them into us for us to give them a check over to see if there's anything we can help them with."

Credit: ITV West Country

The heat has even caused some roads across the region to begin melting.

Somerset County Council has warned drivers to take care across its road network as some surfaces have begun to blister.

The heat has caused some roads in Somerset to partially melt. Credit: Somerset Live/BPM MEDIA

Meanwhile, a breakdown recovery company in Cornwall is having its busiest summer ever.

Clare Butler, General Manager of Cornwall Commercials says staff have been rescuing summer tourists breaking down as well as supermarket delivery vans.

"I know that obviously with Covid flights weren't available. There's been a lot of advertising for Cornwall on the TV and radio saying how lovely it is.

"On a day like today you can't argue with that but already we have an awful lot of visitors down here. It's good for the trade. The roads are busier this year than they've ever been."