Adapt to Survive

A Tool for Building Resilience to Climate Change into Health Care Systems

Date of the resource

December 2023

Author of the resource

SWM, in collaboration with the Environment Agency

Purpose of the resource

The most recent UK Climate Change Risk Assessment, published in 2021, gave us a stark warning about the impact climate change is likely to have on our health, and the knock on potential consequences on our NHS. The Service is already facing massive pressure and an increase in heatwaves, flooding, water scarcity and pests and diseases as a result of climate change will only lead to an exacerbation of this. There is also an issue as to whether Trust’s building stock will be able to cope with temperature increases and a more erratic flood risk, further enhancing the problem.

Despite this, there is little evidence of activity taking place on a nationwide scale to help and support NHS Trusts, Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) and Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) to adapt to climate change. The third iteration of the National Adaptation Programme, published in July 2023, includes actions that focus on adapting the NHS, but we feel that this is not being considered on an urgent enough scale, or being mindful of the fact that most Trusts do not have the resources, capacity or knowledge to consider adaptation.

This is why we have collaborated with our local Environment Agency team to produce a suite of resources to start Trusts on their adaptation journey, by developing a toolkit that takes them through a step by step process to enable effective adaptation in their Trust, ICB or ICS.

This series of resources, collectively known as ‘Adapt to Survive,’ provides:

  • An Excel-based toolkit to take Trusts through a process to produce an adaptation plan, including how to assess risks, identify impacts and adaptation solutions.
  • A guidance document taking users through the above tool and providing further guidance and resources, and how adaptation links with existing NHS healthcare and emergency planning priorities.
  • A video tutorial explaining how to use the toolkit.
  • A compendium of case studies showing what adaptation good practice looks like in NHS Trusts, in order to catalyse action in other Trusts.
  • An event, ran in September 2023, that brought together nearly 80 individuals from Trusts, ICSs and ICBs from the across the UK to learn more about climate change adaptation.


Adapt to Survive: A Tool for Building Resilience to Climate Change into Health Care Systems Worksheet (xls)

Adapt to Survive: Worksheet Guidance Document and Resources (pdf)

Adapt to Survive: Worksheet Video Tutorials (via YouTube, see below)

Adapt to Survive: Practical Examples for NHS Trusts and Other Healthcare Providers (pdf)

Adapt to Survive: Adapting the NHS to Climate Change Online Event Resources (html)

Further Support

SWM is leading the way on supporting organisations with their climate change adaptation work. Get in touch with us if you would like more information.

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