The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has joined European and global hospital and healthcare organisations in signing the ‘Healthcare Call to Action on Climate Change' ahead of the UN Climate Negotiations, taking place in November in Bonn, Germany.
With climate change already exacerbating a wide range of health problems the world over, the health sector must play a leading role in addressing climate change, which The Lancet has called the greatest global health threat of the 21st Century.
The HealthCare Call to Action is a message from hospitals and health systems to colleagues and sister institutions around the world. It calls on health care to address its own climate impacts, create climate-smart development strategies, and to prepare for expected serious climate-change induced extreme weather impacts.
RCP action on climate change
The RCP is running a programme of work to support the understanding of what healthcare sustainability looks like in the context of modern society. Each year, the NHS produces more carbon emissions than all the planes taking off from Heathrow combined, which significantly contributes to global climate change. This in turn presents a huge and imminent threat to health, and therefore service demand.
The RCP's Breaking the fever: Sustainability and climate change in the NHS gives an overview of the impact of climate change on healthcare in the UK, and how physicians and the NHS can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The RCP is a member of the Global Green and Health Hospitals network