UKHACC Bulletin February 2023
This week marked the tenth anniversary of the passing of nine-year-old Ella Adoo Kissi Debrah, the first person in the world to have ‘air pollution’ named as a cause of her death. Her anniversary was marked by Invisible Dust’s ‘Breathe’ animation projected onto London’s South Bank at an event featuring music, performances and speeches in honour of Ella’s legacy. The event was an opportunity for Ella’s mother and family to come together with people from across London to #BreatheForElla and call for support for Ella’s Law and a future with clean air for all.
Air pollution has devastating consequences and causes multiple health harms. Health professionals can be powerful advocates in calling for support for Ella’s Law, also known as the Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill, which will have its second reading in the House of Commons later this month. We’ve produced a briefing document which we invite you to use and share. We’ll also be writing to MPs calling for their support.
In the last month, at UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, we have welcomed two new members – Royal College of Anaesthetists and British Dental Association. This takes the total membership of our members above one million health professionals. There is huge power in that collective voice to call for change. Let’s use it.
News and updates
MP briefing on the health impacts of the climate crisis.
On 7th February, the chief medical officer (CMO) on climate – Professor Sir Gregor Smith – along with presentations from Sir Andy Haines (LSHTM), Rosamund Kissi-Debrah (whose daughter Ella died 10 years ago this month due to air pollution), and climate scientist Professor Kevin Anderson (IPCC) led a briefing for MPs on climate action to protect health and reduce strain on the NHS. Chair of the UKHACC, Dr Richard Smith, had called on MPs of all parties to attend the briefing.
Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill
The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill aims to empower communities and local authorities to work together to deliver beautiful and sustainably developed houses and neighbourhoods. The Bill, which will be debated in the House of Lords later this month provides an opportunity to maximise benefits to health, the climate crisis, nature, social justice and the economy. We’ve produced a policy brief to help them prepare for the debates in the House of Lords that begin next week (post-recess).
Prevention in Health and Social Care
The UK Government’s Health and Social Care Committee launched a new inquiry on preventive healthcare. We submitted a proposal to focus on solutions that prevent ill health through improved air quality while promoting nature and mitigating climate change.
Job opening at Global Action Plan
GAP is recruiting a Head of Policy and Advocacy for their clean air team. This is a policy partnership post with the Health Equals campaign, but will also be working very closely with the Healthy Air Coalition to further shared goals. More details can be found here.
European Sustainable Healthcare Project of the Year Award
This is an exciting new initiative that recognises and celebrates the sustainability projects of healthcare organisations across the WHO Europe region that are making a real difference in reducing the environmental impacts of healthcare activities. It is open to current or candidate members of the Global Green and Healthy Hospitals network. The deadline to apply is 31st March. Further information is available here.
Courses and Events
Greener NHS Training Hub
The Greener NHS training hub brings together a variety of training and educational offers at the intersection of climate and health. It aims to train and upskill the NHS workforce to deliver net zero through a set of different training opportunities available on the Future NHS page.
LSHTM – MSc Climate Change & Planetary Health
The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) is introducing a new master’s programme in climate change and planetary health. This course will equip academics and professionals with the necessary knowledge and skills to deal with the emerging interdisciplinary field of planetary health. Find out more here.
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.
Recent event | Recording
Education for sustainable healthcare
The Medical Schools Council has published a curriculum for the UK on Education for Sustainable Healthcare. In this lunchtime session, Dame Parveen Kumar (Co-founder and editor of Kumar and Clark’s Clinical Medicine), Dr SanYuMay Tun (University of Oxford), and Professor Aine Burns (RCP) discussed 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. In case you missed it, here is the recorded session.
15th March 2023
Levelling Up for better health, biodiversity and climate outcomes
The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill aims to empower communities and local authorities to work together to deliver beautiful and sustainably developed houses and neighbourhoods. It also aims to achieve better environmental outcomes through plans that conserve and enhance nature and climate action. In this session, join the discussion with Dr James Milner (LSHTM), Oliver Lord (Clean Cities Campaign), and Felicity Harris (Centre for Sustainable Healthcare) on the significant co-benefits for health, biodiversity and climate that could be achieved through the delivery of actions focused on the key areas of housing, transport and green space. Register here.
20th February 2023 | 20.00 – 21.00
The Climate Crisis Is A Refugee Crisis: What Can We Do?
DoctorsforXR is organising a talk by Dr Lynne Jones who is a child psychiatrist, aid worker and writer. More details and an event link can be found here.
20th February 2023 | 18:00
Ride for their Lives 2023 launch
Ride for their Lives has launched its new website and campaign for 2023. This online webinar is an opportunity to set your own ride for the year and energise your colleagues, patients and politicians to act on air pollution and the climate crisis. Register here for the event.
20 – 24 February | Hybrid
Imperial College London’s Sustainability Week
Over 5 days discussions will be dedicated to the following themes – Climate crisis, Energy & Waste, Biodiversity, Water and Air. More information can be found here.
6th March 2023 | 13.00 – 17.00
Climate Change and Child Health: From Words to Actions
The RCPCH Climate Change Working Group is organising a webinar focusing on climate change and child health, particularly on what paediatricians can do to take action. More information is available here.
15th March 2023 | London
Partnership for Health Cities Summit
Mayors from around the world are meeting in London for the first ‘Partnership for Healthy Cities Summit’ co-hosted by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the World Health Organisation and Vital Strategies. More details are available here.
28th March 2023 | London
Future of Care Leaders Conference London at The Kings Fund
The Future of Care Conference brings together key trends, challenges and developments in the care industry in front of the people who matter. Speakers include Dr Elaine Mulcahy, Director of the UKHACC. More details can be found here.
31st March 2023 | RCP Annual Conference 2023
WORKSHOP: Health voice in the age of climate change: we’re all public health professionals now
An interactive workshop establishing the links between the climate crisis and poor health. The sessions include how best to communicate with different stakeholders plus an opportunity to discuss with health professionals who have already inspired change. More details are available here.
18th May 2023 | 9.00 – 17.00 (Hybrid – UCL)
The Hot Brain – Climate Change and Neuroscience
This one-day hybrid conference by UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology aims to raise awareness, discuss and promote action around the impacts of climate change across the spectrum of neuroscience, from basic biology to adaptation, with presentations from a wide range of experts. More information can be found here.
14th July 2023 | BMA House, London
SAVE THE DATE: NHS – Net Zero Clinical Care Conference
We have partnered with BMJ to deliver a conference on net zero clinical care. The conference will showcase examples of action to decarbonise the health service across the UK. A call for abstracts will be issued later this month.
Mitigation of the carbon footprint of products used in surgical operations
Academic Advisor to the Green Surgery Project, Dr Chantelle Rizan’s PhD evaluated the carbon footprint of the most common surgical operations and evaluated strategies for mitigation including switching from single-use items to reusables, optimising sterilisation of reusable instruments, optimising waste streams, and use of repair. The thesis can be accessed here.
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.
An open-access living database of healthcare environmental impact assessments has been launched to. 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).
Reports, articles and videos
We’ve pulled together a list of recent reports, articles and videos worth reading, watching and sharing.
- Watch this excellent short video that summarises the key climate change and health messages from a recent conference ‘Healthy Planet, Healthy People’ on the Island of Ireland.
- In this video, watch Dr Jacob Krzanowski (psychiatrist) and Dr Caroline Jessel (GP) speak about how biodiversity benefits mental health and NHS nature plans.
- Dr Richard Smith, chair of UKHACC, writes that successfully communicating about climate change means finding a narrative that is understood, believed and trusted in this article.
- In this blog post, UCLH’s Sustainability Transformation Project Lead, Joe Burton, writes about their net-zero plans.
- Our fellow in sustainable surgery, Melissa Pegg, writes about a new Green Theatre Checklist to reduce the environmental impact of surgical care pathways in this article.
- In this piece, Dr Anandita Pattnaik, our policy officer explains why health professionals are supporting the legal challenges against the UK government over the decision to open a coal mine in Cumbria.
- A webinar was hosted by Healthcare Without Harm Europe on how healthcare professionals can be advocates for greener healthcare. The recorded video can be accessed here.
- At the Prince Mahidol Award Conference -PMAC2023 – UKHACC Trustee Rhiannon Osborne delivered a powerful speech on safety from climate crises.
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