Written by CIPHE CEO, Kevin Wellman
I have been following the statistics on plumbing related scalds and burns from NHS Digital for nine years and I am dismayed that the incidents are increasing. I report every year on the annual statistics, but these fail to reflect or put into perspective the overall picture.
Since I first reported on these incidents using 2013/14 statistics there have been nearly 6,000 admissions to hospital for those suffering with scalding and over 7,500 admissions for burns from pipes, radiators and heating appliances.
The cost to the NHS will have been immense and in many cases, it is a financial burden that is avoidable.
Campaigns such as ‘Hot Water Burns Like Fire’ were instrumental in changing legislation in favour of thermostatic mixing valves (TMV’s) but, given the increase in incidents, it is surely time for the legislation to be changed for all premises including existing housing stock. It is equally important to carry out regular maintenance on TMV’s to ensure they are fit for purpose and not ‘fit and forget’ devices.
In addition to the costs of medical care which can result in years of hospital treatment and procedures, there is the unseen costs relating to stress and anxiety for the patient and their family and friends.
Another helpful source of advice is the Children’s Burns Trust, see the following: https://www.cbtrust.org.uk/
The CIPHE has invested in the creation of a safe water guide and legionella risk management course, to help members keep important water safety information front of mind. A small investment in time to update your CPD on water safety could prevent injuries to the public and, in some instances, help to save lives.