The NHS Confederation want the government to include a health expert in the proposed Committee on Climate Change to promote the important challenges faced by the NHS.
Today the government published a draft climate change bill recommending statutory emission targets be set to a minimum, but no mention was made of the health sector.
“The NHS, as one of the world’s largest and resource-hungry public services, has a major role to play in tackling climate change,” says Dr Gill Morgan, chief executive of the NHS.
“As the UK’s largest employer, the NHS can help promote positive changes in attitude among its 1.3 million staff.”
He adds that NHS leaders are already doing their bit to address the problem of climate change but they are capable of much more.
“The sheer scale of the NHS, with one million patient contacts every 36 hours, means the organisation has a considerable carbon footprint, but also has the potential to promote positive change,” he says.
“The impact of climate change on the general health of the UK population will be a significant additional pressure on the NHS.
“A warmer, more variable climate may mean an increase in heat-related deaths, insect borne disease and respiratory disease.”