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Scalding and burns caused by contact with domestic systems is on the rise

Following the release of the latest NHS Digital statistics for burns and scalding, Kevin Wellman, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) highlights the significant risk to public health and the cost to the NHS:

The recent report reflects instances of scalding and burns caused by contact with domestic systems between 2013 to 2023. Over the last 12 months, the number of Finished Consultant Episode (FCE) bed days due to contact with hot tap water has increased by 22% and those for contact with hot heating appliances, radiators and pipes has increased by 5%.

Both of the most recent numbers reported are above the average for the last ten years. With Will Quince, Minister of State for the Department of Health and Social Care, stating that the cost collection data for 2020/2021 showed non-elective costs per bed day were £901, even the most conservative estimates suggest that the 6,645 collective FCE bed days are estimated to have cost the NHS at least £6,000,000 over the last 12 months. In fact, with burn ward specific bed days up to twice as high as those for general wards, the true cost to the NHS is likely to be much higher.

The cost of burns and scalding cases on the NHS is significant, but it’s more than just a number. That figure represents serious public health implications and a long-lasting impact on the lives of many people. Not only must more be done to reduce the burden on the NHS, but public safety must be the number one priority for our society. As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure and, when it comes to the plumbing and heating industry, there are so many preventative measures available to us.

Sadly, over the ten-year period there have been over 32,000 FCE bed days due to contact with hot tap water, and 31,700 FCE bed days have been for admissions following contact with heating appliances, radiators and pipes. However, with CIPHE having dedicated much of our own activity on protecting those in society who are most vulnerable, it is at least heartening to see that the most recent year’s figures for those 4 years and under and those 65 years and above are all substantially below the 10-year average figures for their respective categories,

Each one of these cases is one case too many. Knowing the frequently life-altering impact scalds and burns can have, it is particularly distressing to hear when young children affected by this serious issue, and we are passionate about reducing the number of individuals affected. Choosing a quality and competent plumbing and heating professional for all household jobs where heating and water systems are involved is absolutely essential.

To find out more on scalding and burns, click here, or for more information on the CIPHE, please visit: www.ciphe.org.uk