Local weather and well being: making use of All Our Well being


This information is a part of All Our Well being, a useful resource which helps well being and care professionals stop sick well being and promote wellbeing as a part of their on a regular basis observe. The knowledge under will assist frontline well being and care professionals use their trusted relationships with sufferers, households and communities to scale back the contribution of the well being and care system to the local weather disaster.

We additionally advocate necessary actions that managers and workers holding strategic roles can take.

Why it issues

Why act on the local weather disaster in your skilled observe

The well being of the planet is inextricably linked to human well being and wellbeing. A wholesome planet supplies us with our most elementary wants:

  • fertile land for meals manufacturing
  • secure water to drink
  • clear air to breathe

The warming of the planet, generally known as local weather change, is degrading our planet’s life-support system and threatens our potential to thrive and survive. Local weather change is going on extra shortly than beforehand feared and represents an pressing international disaster requiring a daring, united response.

Local weather change has been recognized as crucial well being menace of the century, however additionally it is the “biggest alternative to redefine the social and environmental determinants of well being”. Everybody working in well being and care wants to arrange for and be outfitted to reply to the well being impacts of the local weather disaster.

The local weather disaster has an necessary influence on well being.

International temperatures are rising at an unprecedented charge, pushed by a build-up of greenhouse gases within the environment. These gases, of which probably the most generally recognized is carbon dioxide, are largely a results of burning fossil fuels. International temperatures proceed to rise and are anticipated to surpass the 1.5 to 2 diploma threshold, triggering unprecedented adjustments to local weather programs, with devastating impacts for human well being and wellbeing.

The science is unequivocal; a world improve of 1.5°C above the pre-industrial common and the continued lack of biodiversity threat catastrophic hurt to well being that shall be not possible to reverse.

(The Lancet, 2021)

Within the UK, common floor temperature has already risen by 1.2°C and the results of local weather change are already obvious. The UK is especially prone to drought, flooding and excessive climate occasions, all of which threaten the water, meals, infrastructure and provide programs we rely on.

A warming local weather impacts well being in 3 foremost methods:

  1. Results of maximum climate, reminiscent of heatwaves, flooding, wildfire, storms and drought on bodily and psychological well being (for instance accidents and trauma, heat-related sickness). Such occasions are anticipated to extend in frequency and severity in coming years.
  2. Results on the planet’s life-support programs, reminiscent of rising sea ranges and secure water availability, altering patterns of zoonotic and vector-borne illness (for instance malaria, dengue fever), lowered pollination and crop failure resulting in meals shortages.
  3. Results mediated by social programs, reminiscent of livelihood loss, rising costs of meals and gas, provide chain disruption, strain on well being and care providers, battle or pressured migration.

The local weather disaster impacts our efforts to safeguard the well being of the inhabitants and due to this fact tackling it as a determinant of well being is an important facet of our position as well being and care professionals.

Actions to forestall and put together for the local weather disaster will enhance public well being

Decreasing our contribution to the local weather disaster and creating resilience to reply to the worst impacts of a warming local weather is a chance to guard well being. Importantly, a lot of what will be carried out is a ‘win-win’ for each the surroundings and for well being.

The excellent news is that greenhouse gasoline emissions will be lowered in a approach that addresses public well being challenges; these are ‘win-win’ alternatives. We all know that growing bodily exercise by way of lively journey, making nutritious and sustainable meals available and bettering air high quality and housing will scale back the chance of weight problems, cardiovascular and respiratory illness, sure cancers and diabetes. These actions can even assist obtain nationwide commitments to scale back our contribution to the local weather disaster.

Particular ‘win-win’ alternatives for well being and the local weather disaster


Transport is the most important greenhouse gas-emitting sector within the UK, accounting for 28% of complete emissions. Our transport system is basically road-travel dependent, and this has been a significant factor in lowering bodily exercise by way of lively journey and growing obesity-related morbidity and mortality within the UK. Bodily inactivity immediately contributes to 1 in 6 deaths within the UK and prices wider society £7.4 billion a 12 months.

Transport can also be a serious reason for air air pollution. Burning fossil fuels for autos and industrial processes fills the air we breathe with greenhouse gases that heat the environment and are launched with pollution that immediately influence human well being. Within the UK, air air pollution is accountable for an estimated 28,000 to 36,000 extra deaths a 12 months, with the well being prices of air air pollution estimated to be between £8.5 billion and £20.2 billion. Discover out extra in regards to the well being impacts of air air pollution.

If we, as well being and care professionals, may help folks to extend the variety of journeys taken on foot, by bicycle or public transport, we’ll see advantages for each well being and the local weather.


Houses that lack vitality effectivity contribute to local weather change and negatively influence our well being. House vitality use accounts for 14% of UK greenhouse gasoline emissions, with the overwhelming majority of vitality consumption from coal, oil and gasoline. Inefficient vitality use in properties, in addition to rising vitality costs, will increase the chance of gas poverty and chilly properties. Gasoline poverty impacts 13.4% of households within the UK. Bettering the vitality effectivity of properties is the best approach of tackling gas poverty in the long run. It reduces the quantity of vitality required to warmth the house and may due to this fact contribute to lowered vitality payments and a hotter, safer residence.

The burden of sick well being from chilly properties stays important within the UK. Residing in a chilly residence represents a substantial threat to well being, wellbeing and inequalities. Chilly properties are recognised as a supply of each bodily and psychological sick well being, growing the chance of coronary heart assault and stroke, respiratory sickness, falls and accidents. Equally, with more and more hotter temperatures as a consequence of international warming, there’s additionally a major threat to well being, significantly for older folks, very younger youngsters, and people with power well being situations of dwelling in a house that’s too sizzling. Making certain properties are properly ventilated can’t solely assist to scale back temperatures on sizzling days however can even profit well being by bettering indoor air high quality.

If we, as well being and care professionals, may help to encourage environment friendly vitality utilization in properties, in addition to be certain that properties should not too sizzling or too chilly, we’ll see advantages for each well being and the local weather.


Our present meals system is a serious contributor to international temperature rise, deforestation, biodiversity loss, freshwater overextraction, in addition to air and plastic air pollution. On the identical time, the best way we eat is inflicting important morbidity and mortality, with poor diets growing the chance of coronary heart illness, hypertension, kind 2 diabetes, weight problems and sure cancers. Food plan-related sick well being is estimated to price the NHS and wider UK society £5.1 billion per 12 months, having a better influence on the NHS finances than smoking, alcohol consumption and bodily inactivity.

The meals most damaging to our well being are sometimes these with the best emissions, air pollution, land and water use. A weight-reduction plan wealthy in plant-based meals, and decrease in animal supply meals which have a major environmental influence, has advantages for well being and the surroundings. Adherence to the Eatwell Information which inspires a excessive consumption of fruits, greens, wholegrains and plant-based protein, might contribute to a 7% discount in mortality and a 30% discount in greenhouse gasoline emissions.

If we, as well being and care professionals, can encourage folks to undertake a balanced, sustainable weight-reduction plan and promote wider adjustments to our meals system, we would scale back the environmental influence of meals manufacturing and provide, in addition to scale back the chance of diet-related illness.

Inexperienced house

Our interplay with pure locations can have a major influence on our well being. Defending nature and biodiversity safeguards well being and wellbeing. Individuals who dwell in greener neighbourhoods have increased self-reported well being and psychological wellbeing. Publicity to inexperienced areas has been proven to enhance temper, scale back nervousness, and scale back the chance of kind 2 diabetes and heart problems. ‘Inexperienced train’, or taking bodily exercise in inexperienced or pure environments, might also present extra advantages to folks’s total wellbeing. It’s estimated that £2.1 billion per 12 months could possibly be saved in well being prices if everybody in England had good entry to inexperienced house, because of the elevated bodily exercise in these areas.

Inexperienced areas can even deliver communities collectively, scale back loneliness and mitigate the damaging results of air air pollution, extreme noise, warmth and flooding. Nonetheless, inexperienced house entry is carefully linked to well being and social inequalities. Probably the most prosperous wards in England have 5 instances the quantity of parks and inexperienced house in comparison with probably the most disadvantaged 10% (Public Well being England, 2020).

If we, as well being and care professionals, can promote the safety of inexperienced areas, and implement nature-based interventions for well being, reminiscent of inexperienced strolling for psychological well being or inexperienced social prescribing, we are able to enhance the well being of individuals and the planet, whereas lowering well being inequalities.

Social and well being inequalities

The local weather disaster and the social justice disaster are carefully associated. These almost certainly to undergo the worst penalties of local weather change have contributed the least to it. Disadvantaged areas have the poorest air high quality whereas producing a a lot decrease proportion of housing and journey emissions. The political and financial programs which drive the local weather disaster additionally drive social injustice.

The local weather disaster impacts folks in a different way relying on their susceptibility, threat and skill to manage. For instance, aged populations, folks dwelling in care properties and people with underlying well being situations usually tend to undergo from the results of maximum warmth and chilly. Gasoline poverty and poor housing can exacerbate these results.

Individuals from disadvantaged areas face disproportionately increased flood threat than these in rich areas, significantly in coastal and rural zones, which might imply they’re extra susceptible to flood-related monetary and livelihood loss.

If we, as well being and care professionals, act on the local weather disaster in a approach that addresses social inequalities, we are able to be certain that the prices of local weather motion should not unfairly borne by these with decrease incomes or different social disadvantages.

The well being sector is dedicated to motion

Insurance policies and commitments at worldwide and nationwide ranges require the well being sector to take motion on the local weather disaster. At a world stage, the UK has signed the Paris Settlement, a authorized dedication to maintain international temperatures under 2 levels Celsius and scale back carbon emissions by 45% by 2030. Commitments made on the COP26 assembly in 2021 put us on observe for two.5 levels of warming.

At a nationwide stage, the UK Local weather Change Act 2008 requires the federal government to undertake 5-yearly assessments of local weather dangers and produce a Nationwide Adaptation Plan for responding to the recognized dangers, together with the dangers to well being and wellbeing as a precedence.

Throughout the well being and care sector, the NHS in England grew to become the primary healthcare system on the earth to commit to scale back the carbon emissions it may immediately affect (for instance, the quantity of electrical energy utilized by hospitals) to web zero by 2040. Carbon emissions it can’t management however can affect (for instance, emissions from producers inside the provide chain) shall be lowered to web zero by 2045.

These commitments are important as a result of the well being and care system in England accounts for about 5% of the nation’s nationwide greenhouse gasoline emissions. Specific carbon ‘hotspots’ embody supply-chain derived gadgets reminiscent of prescribed drugs and medical tools, in addition to sure anaesthetic gases and affected person or workers journey (see graph under). The well being system additionally contributes to plastic and air air pollution:

  • in catering alone, the NHS purchased at the least 163 million plastic cups, 16 million items of plastic cutlery, 15 million straws and a pair of million plastic stirrers in 2018
  • one in 20 automobiles on the highway are associated to the NHS

For a sector primarily based on the precept of “First, do no hurt,” the well being and care sector should act shortly and collectively to mitigate its personal local weather injury.

Determine 1: Sources of carbon emissions by proportion of NHS Carbon Footprint Plus

Medicines, medical tools and different provide chain:

  • medicines and chemical compounds: 20%
  • medical tools: 10%
  • non-medical tools: 8%
  • different provide chain: 24%

NHS carbon footprint:

  • constructing vitality: 10%
  • water and waste: 5%
  • anaesthetic gases and metered does inhalers: 5%
  • enterprise journey and NHS fleet: 4%

Private journey:

  • affected person journey: 5%
  • workers commute: 4%
  • customer journey: 1%

Commissioned well being providers outdoors NHS: 4%

Supply: NHS, Delivering a ‘Web Zero’ Nationwide Well being Service.

What you are able to do to assist

Decreasing the influence of healthcare on the local weather disaster

Well being and care professionals have an integral position to play in lowering the contribution of the well being and care system to the local weather disaster. Affected person-facing well being employees have a very necessary position given they’re able to affect what number of assets are used and the way a lot healthcare exercise is undertaken. Scientific care is accountable for the high-emitting consumption of prescribed drugs, tools and consumables, whereas medical choices decide how sufferers transfer by way of the system, for instance whether or not they’re admitted to hospital, or how typically they should make a journey to an outpatient clinic.

Reaching NHS Web Zero calls for that the well being and care system turns into environmental, socially and economically sustainable. This can require management and innovation from NHS workers.

A sustainable well being system will:

  • assist stop sickness

  • give higher management to sufferers in managing their well being

  • be leaner by streamlining care programs to minimise wasteful actions

  • prioritise remedies and applied sciences with a decrease carbon footprint

Core ideas for well being and care professionals

This All Our Well being local weather disaster data has been created to assist all well being and care professionals perceive that the local weather disaster is an issue for well being, and the way healthcare professionals want to arrange for and reply to it.

Well being and care professionals are extremely trusted and due to this fact properly positioned to advocate for motion on the local weather disaster and the well being impacts it has. By appearing on the local weather disaster, we are able to safeguard inhabitants well being in opposition to the worst results of a warming local weather.

Well being and care professionals ought to recognise the local weather disaster as a well being disaster, and due to this fact local weather motion as a core a part of their skilled duties. Delivering on this, they will:

  • take on a regular basis alternatives to speak with colleagues, administration and sufferers or shoppers in regards to the hyperlink between local weather and well being and the significance of taking motion now
  • incorporate ’win-win’ interventions which enhance well being whereas taking local weather motion
  • scale back the contribution that well being and care has on the local weather disaster

Taking motion

Frontline well being and care professionals

Well being and care professionals can implement these core ideas by:

  • educating themselves and others in regards to the local weather disaster and well being
  • selling and defending public well being
  • lowering the environmental influence of healthcare

Educate your self and others in regards to the local weather disaster and well being

Ask colleagues whether or not they’re prepared to make optimistic adjustments collectively. See how one can have a local weather dialog.

Examine whether or not your organisation has a Sustainability Motion Plan or Inexperienced Plan for NHS Web Zero ambitions.

Encourage your skilled networks and regulatory our bodies to declare a local weather emergency as a dedication to local weather motion.

Develop into a Local weather Champion or Environmental Champion, be a part of or begin a Inexperienced Influence crew. Learn the way to hitch local weather motion and sustainability initiatives at work.

Selling and defending public well being

Utilizing the Make Each Contact Depend (MECC) strategy – use each alternative to speak to sufferers and their households about methods they will enhance their well being which even have a optimistic influence on the surroundings.

Encourage sufferers and workers to make use of lively journey when acceptable for them, particularly for brief journeys.

Assist sufferers and workers scale back their publicity to air air pollution, and to the chance related to excessive air pollution episodes.

Determine sufferers most susceptible to chilly or sizzling climate (youngsters, the aged, these with power situations), and guarantee they know how one can preserve their properties at an affordable temperature. Use this on-line coaching course to learn to refer sufferers for assist if they’re dwelling in chilly properties.

Encourage sufferers and workers to extend their consumption of complete grains, nuts, seeds, plant-based protein, vegetables and fruit, while lowering purple meat and processed meals consumption.

Encourage sufferers and workers to extend their use of inexperienced areas for each bodily and psychological well being. You may make this a part of your administration plan utilizing these inexperienced social prescribing assets.

Decreasing the environmental influence of healthcare

Go for low-carbon remedies and applied sciences the place acceptable.

Use this Nationwide Institute for Scientific Excellence (NICE) affected person determination assist that will help you to debate along with your affected person the advantages of switching to a lower-carbon inhaler for his or her respiratory illness.

Anaesthetists, A&E and maternity providers workers can scale back using extremely polluting anaesthetic gases like nitrous oxide or desflurane.

Scale back pointless useful resource use.

Substitute single-use with recyclable or multi-use consumables the place acceptable.

Scale back the waste related to prescribing medicines.

Actively journey to or at work, utilizing public transport the place obtainable, and keep away from air journey wherever attainable.

Use communication know-how when acceptable to scale back workers and affected person journey.

Swap off lights and computer systems when not in use, scale back paper use and optimise recycling.

Assist transition in direction of low-carbon fashions of healthcare.

Use a sustainable high quality enchancment strategy to revamp pathways, processes and providers, by embedding sustainability into high quality enchancment tasks.

Be a part of a sustainable healthcare community.

In case you’re an allied well being skilled (AHP), see this Greener AHP Hub for data and concepts on how your career can contribute to NHS Web Zero.

Staff leaders and managers

In case you’re a crew chief or supervisor:

  • direct crew members to data on the local weather disaster and well being and provides them permission to take motion on local weather change as a core a part of their work
  • collaborate with different departments (for instance, sustainability officers, catering managers, estates managers) to guide on initiatives that handle the local weather disaster
  • contact your space’s Inexperienced Plan lead or sustainability supervisor and assist develop or implement NHS Web Zero ambitions.
  • use the ideas of sustainable healthcare to form your crew’s work

Senior or strategic leaders

In case you’re a senior or strategic chief:

  • declare a well being emergency in your division or organisation (see Newcastle upon Tyne Hospital Belief) as a dedication to local weather motion, and publicise what actions shall be taken as a part of a declared local weather motion technique
  • organise media coaching for key personnel to allow them to clarify to companions and the general public what your organisation is doing and the way different organisations may help
  • determine the Inexperienced Plan in your NHS organisation, and assist develop or implementing it (see King’s Faculty Hospital Inexperienced Plan)
  • set up or be a part of Inexperienced Champion networks and Inexperienced Influence groups
  • enhance inexperienced house entry for sufferers and workers at your organisation (see NHS Forest)
  • use the NHS’s position as an anchor establishment to interact in cross-sector working to affect public providers and native companies to scale back their local weather influence
  • work with native authorities and different companions to deliver a Well being in All Insurance policies strategy to cross-sector discussions about key points (for instance, transport, meals programs, city planning), emphasising the advantages to inhabitants well being of insurance policies that scale back damaging environmental impacts
  • take a system-wide strategy to sustainable commissioning
  • decarbonise procurement in buildings, infrastructure, catering and tools
  • implement suggestions from current local weather change response plans:
  • co-ordinate native motion throughout sectors for resilience within the well being and care sector (reminiscent of hospital preparedness for excessive climate occasions reminiscent of flooding or storms), drawing on proof of local weather dangers

Understanding native wants

Take motion on the local weather disaster whereas bettering well being and lowering social inequalities at a neighborhood stage:

Measuring influence

Measuring the influence of your work demonstrates its worth and permits its unfold:

Additional studying, assets and good observe

Training in regards to the local weather disaster for well being professionals

This 2-minute video from the Lancet Countdown on Well being and Local weather change report, highlights how local weather change is a vital public well being difficulty.

Free e-learning modules on Environmentally Sustainable Healthcare e-LFH platform.

UK authorities report on the well being results of local weather change within the UK.

WHO particular report: The Well being Argument for Local weather Motion.

A webinar sequence with lectures on local weather change, COVID-19 and sustainability.

Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change (IPCC) report on local weather change.

This report by Medact outlines the general public well being case for Inexperienced New Deal and is an argument for social and financial construction adjustments to sort out local weather change and social injustice.

‘Win-win’ methods for bettering public well being and appearing on the local weather disaster


This information from the Clear Air Fund can be utilized to speak the well being impacts of air air pollution.

Social prescribing for lively journey toolkit

Use these assets to advertise bodily exercise amongst sufferers:


NICE guideline on the well being impacts of chilly properties

Marmot Overview on the well being impacts of gas poverty

This Residents Recommendation useful resource will be offered to sufferers to assist them make their properties extra vitality environment friendly.


This transient for healthcare professionals outlines particular interventions for selling diets than are wholesome for sufferers and good for the planet.

The Affiliation of British Dieticians has revealed a toolkit that will help you be taught extra about environmentally sustainable diets and how one can talk about this along with your sufferers.

Greatest observe examples of sustainable meals for healthcare.

Round economic system for meals in healthcare mannequin.

Sustainable meals and the NHS-recommendations from the King’s Fund.

Inexperienced house

Nature-based interventions, together with inexperienced social prescribing, strolling for well being and inexperienced house for well being.

Nature-based interventions for psychological healthcare.

Inexperienced well being routes.

Social inequalities

London’s local weather threat mapping coaching on how one can think about at-risk populations.

Decreasing well being inequalities assets

Decreasing the influence of well being and care

WHO technique on environmentally sustainable healthcare.

The Clear Air Hospitals Framework can be utilized to scale back the air air pollution at hospital websites for the advantage of sufferers, workers and the broader neighborhood.

A listing of actions native authorities can take to scale back emissions.

The UK Local weather Impacts Programme toolkit to assist native authorities put together for the impacts of local weather occasions on organisations and providers.

Scale back the carbon footprint of inhaler prescribing utilizing this information developed by Greener Follow.

Straightforward wins for bettering vitality effectivity by way of behaviour change in your administrative center.

Easy steps medical doctors can take to scale back pharmaceutical air pollution

Inexperienced influence for well being toolkit: assets and concepts for bettering the sustainability of main care providers.

Good observe examples

Case research from the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Basis Belief Inexperienced Ward competitors: these tasks embedded sustainability into high quality enchancment to scale back waste, inappropriate prescribing and pointless cannulation throughout departments.

Sussex Neighborhood NHS Belief selected to assist and promote lively journey investing in e-bikes and electrical and hybrid pool cares. See the pedal energy for cleaner healthcare supply scheme in motion.

The ‘Gloves Off’ marketing campaign at Nice Ormond Avenue Hospital reveals how easy adjustments to the best way non-sterile gloves are used can considerably scale back the environmental influence of care whereas bettering affected person outcomes and expertise.

The NHS Sheffield Scientific Commissioning Group reveals how GP practices can use allotment gardening to offer wholesome meals to their communities and enhance wellbeing.

Dorset Built-in Care System built-in local weather motion into their 5-year plan (2019 to 2024), bettering the sustainability of their service and offering care in a approach that each protects and recognises the well being advantages of nature and the surroundings. They’ve made specific progress on main a complete programs strategy to growing bodily exercise, a key part of accelerating lively journey and lowering transport-related local weather impacts and sick well being.

The Better Manchester Well being and Social Care Partnership manifesto makes use of the well being voice to assist a transport system which makes lively journey the straightforward and accessible selection.

The Yorkshire and Humber Local weather Fee brings public, personal and third sector organisations collectively to forestall and put together for the worst impacts of local weather change while bettering inhabitants wellbeing.

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