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UKHACC Bulletin December 2022

16th December 2022
Updates, opportunities, and resources on climate action.

As another year comes to an end, here is our year in a wrap! 

In January we wrote a letter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care urging the embedment of net zero commitments in the Health and Care Bill and were pleased with legislative amendments. 

We supported the health community’s Stop Cambo letter to the prime minister calling out just transition away from fossil fuels to tackle fuel poverty and climate crises in February

In March, we submitted a response to the NHS Scotland Climate Emergency and Sustainability Strategy.

In April we wrote about the IPCC mitigation of climate change report, outlining how governments need to deliver policies that reduce greenhouse emissions while also improving health and equity.

We received a response in May to the letter we wrote to the prime minister earlier in the year calling out to disinvest in fossil fuels and to focus on affordable and clean energy but were disappointed that our concerns were not addressed. 

In June, 30 health leaders from UKHACC member organisations endorsed a letter encouraging MPs to attend a climate change briefing by the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser. We also submitted a response to the Government’s environment target proposals on air pollution. Following consultation with members of UKHACC, we submitted our response to the GMC Good Medical Practice Review.

In July, we took part in conducting a survey with the Faculty for Public Health UK and Eating Better to gather information about health organisations’ positions and practices related to sustainable diets, the results of which were discussed at the UKHACC lunch session this week. 

In August we joined over 1400 health professionals and 200 health organisations in asking governments from around the world to develop and implement a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.  We wrote an open letter to the prime minister in September about the health impacts of climate change and urging for swift and just action which includes phasing out fossil fuels. 

The Lancet Countdown for climate change and health UK policy brief which we co-authored was published in October. We also organised the UKHACC Ride For Their Lives in London to highlight the powerful voice of health professionals in calling out the dangers of air pollution to human health and inspiring action for a healthy planet. We also coordinated the publication of an editorial by African editors.

In November we wrote a letter to COP26 President Alok Sharma to put health at the forefront of global climate discussions and supported a complaint filed against DEFRA for failing to meet the legal deadline to publish the environmental targets.  

And this December we are launching our brand-new UKHACC website (the web address remains the same). Wishing everyone happy holidays, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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News and updates

The decision to open a coal mine in Cumbria contradicts the recommendations of the CMO’s report

The announcement to open a coal mine in Cumbria was followed by the publication of the CMO’s annual report on air pollution (on 7th and 8th December 2022 respectively). Healthcare professionals are disappointed with the decision to open the coal mine as it is a backward step in the UK’s leadership achieving net zero targets and provision of clean air for the people. To know more on the issue read the piece we wrote for the BMJ.

London-wide ULEZ announced by the mayor

We have welcomed the recent announcement by the Mayor of London to expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to cover most of Greater London from August 2023. Earlier this year, we joined with 13 other organisations in a letter coordinated by Clean Cities, calling for the ULEZ expansion in delivering cleaner air in London. There is more work to be done, but this is a good step forward for London.

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Opportunities/Getting involved

United for Nature – Sign the petition

The Zero Hour Alliance has launched the United for Nature petition to urge the UK government to set legally binding targets to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030. The UKHACC supports this as nature plays a positive impact on both physical and mental health. 

WHO and WMO – ClimaHealth 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) have jointly launched ClimaHealth, a global open-access platform to provide technical information on climate change and health to interdisciplinary users. They are currently creating a directory of international and national organisations working towards reducing the health impacts of climate change. Submit details to admin@climahealth.info to be added to the list of expert groups. 

Funding – Climate Cultures Call

Climate Cultures Call by the Allianz Foundation will support ten projects related to climate, culture and sustainability. The open call is aimed at actors from the civil society, arts and culture, and environmental protection sectors. The application deadline is 1st January 2023. More details can be found here.

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Courses and Events

UKHACC IN CONVERSATION LUNCHTIME SESSIONS

A number of sessions are open for registration in our popular lunchtime sessions. These events are held online from 12.00-13.30 on the dates indicated below. Sessions involve presentations by leading experts followed by a panel discussion and Q&A.

18 January 2023

Progress towards a net zero health service in the UK

Health leaders from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will provide an update on current plans and progress towards delivering a net zero health service. The panel includes Sir Frank Atherton, CMO Wales; Professor Sir Gregor Smith, CMO Scotland, Nick Watts, Greener NHS England. Reserve a spot here. 

15 February 2023

Education for sustainable healthcare

The Medical Schools Council has published a curriculum for the UK on Education for Sustainable Healthcare. In this lunchtime session, we will discuss the challenges and opportunities for ensuring the new curriculum becomes a standard component of medical education, and how it can be adapted and expanded to other areas of practice and postgraduate training. Register here.

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EXTERNAL EVENTS 

13th & 20th January 2023 | 10:00 – 16:00 

Workshop: Impacts of weather and climate extremes on the UK food chain

There are 2 separate events – Part 1 (13th January 2023 on scoping adaptation and policy responses and their consequences. Part 2 (20th January 2023 on identifying critical uncertainties, scenarios and quick wins. This workshop is organised by the Met Office with support from DEFRA, the food standards agency, UCL and others. Further information and registration details are available here

18th January 2023 |

HealthcareLCA Launch: The new home of healthcare environmental impact assessments

The developers of HealthcareLCA will introduce this new tool that would allow users to  sort, search and filter data according to their needs/interests to transition towards sustainable health systems. More information and registration link can be found here

24th January 2023 | 10.00 – 12.00

Green Skills Training – Planning for your Future Programmes Webinar 

A training on sustainability and other green skills for organisations to become environment friendly is being organised by Veri Connect. The session will be chaired by Dr Amanda Greer and consists of a panel of experts who will share their knowledge on upcoming best practices and trends. Click to register.

2nd February 2023 | 12.00 – 13.00

Nature & the NHS – How Biodiversity Benefits Mental Health & the Planet

A wide range of benefits of ecotherapy and biodiversity for patients and the planet will be discussed.

The panel consists of Dr Caroline Jessel, Chair of the South East Nature Partnership, founder of Dandelion Time, GP and former NHS England Lead for the South Regional Sustainability and Health Network & Dr Jacob Kraznowski, specialist registrar in general adult psychiatry at NHS South London. Register here

Centre for Sustainable Healthcare Courses

The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare offers a number of opportunities for learning through short courses, foundation-level courses, and technical courses including carbon footprinting for healthcare, sustainability in quality improvement and teaching sustainable quality improvement. Please check out the website to see what’s available.

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New resources

Lungs Matter 

Respiratory Futures have launched a new news-style programme called Lungs Matter to continue the conversations started during the COVID-19 pandemic on respiratory illnesses, raising awareness, highlighting the stories of individuals living with poor respiratory health and perspectives of healthcare professionals and organisations to tackle the challenges of air pollution and health inequalities. 

HealthcareLCA Database

It is an open-access living database of healthcare environmental impact assessments. It is a joint collaboration among Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Dalhousie University and CASCADES (Creating a Sustainable Canadian Health System in a Climate Crisis). This repository is designed to assist clinicians (who want to understand carbon footprint and other environmental impacts of relevant products and procedures), academics (who want to keep up to date with research and to identify evidence gaps in this field), and policymakers (who want to identify carbon hotspot areas to target for action or further research and innovation). 

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Reports, articles and videos

We’ve pulled together a list of recent reports, articles and videos that are worth reading, watching and sharing.

The CMO’s annual report on air pollution highlights the progress made in tackling outdoor air pollution but also emphasises the need for further action. In addition, research and action to reduce indoor air pollution are vital. 

The intercollegiate surgical colleges have produced a Green Theatre Checklist incorporating a comprehensive and practical checklist poster, guidance and compendium of peer-reviewed evidence and policies

Richard Smith, the chair of the UKHACC discusses why we should make the commitment to vote for a healthy planet in this piece

In this article, our policy officer Anandita Pattnaik explains why we support the united for nature petition by the Zero Hour Alliance. 

In this blog post Ben Rossington shares his experience of working with the UKHACC on a flexi-placement through his role as an NHS graduate management trainee.

An article by Peter Knapp from Imperial College London discusses if non-violent civil disobedience by doctors, nurses, scientists and other eminent professionals is necessary to improve air quality. 

The Carbon Brief has produced an in-depth summary and analysis of the key outcomes of COP27. It is very detailed but presented in a simple-to-understand format. 

Prof Scarlett McNally discusses the reduction of road traffic accidents to prioritise the health of the children in this BMJ piece. 

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If you’ve got information about resources, campaigns, or events you would like to be included in the next edition, please send them to elaine.mulcahy@ukhealthalliance.org . The next bulletin will be published on 13 January 2022.