NHS Sustainability Day is delighted to welcome Climate Ready and Climate SouthWest to the growing band of campaign supporters and is eager to hear the thoughts of Jim Hodgson a Climate Change Advisor for the Climate Ready Support Service and Jemma Knowles the Climate SouthWest Project Officer, at the Bournemouth Road Show on the 6th February.
Climate Ready provides online advice, guidance and tailored sector support to help organisations adapt to the changing climate. Priorities for the service are informed by government’s National Adaptation Programme, published in July 2013. This sets out government’s objectives, policies and proposals for addressing the risks identified in the national Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA).
Health and wellbeing is one of the priority sectors identified as at risk from a changing climate. Climate change will affect the health, public health and social care system in a number of ways. We can expect increased threats to public health (such as flooding and heatwaves) and also to the resilience and operations of the system itself. It is therefore vital that adaptation planning is incorporated into service planning, including local and national strategies for health and wellbeing.
We are already vulnerable to extreme weather in the south west and climate change is making this worse; identifying and preparing for the impacts will be more cost-effective than reacting to them.
An increase in frequency of severe weather events could impact a number of aspects within the health service; from exacerbation of skin cancer, respiratory disease and possible introduction of new or foreign diseases, to health inequalities and increased mental health issues. Service disruption could result in closure of facilities and lack of care continuity. On the positive side, increased opportunities for outdoor activities may improve public health and obesity levels and milder winters could reduce the number of cold related deaths.
Climate SouthWest is a partnership of key public and private sector stakeholders who recognise how vital adaptation is for the region’s overall resilience. We offer a range of interactive tools, guidance, training and advice in order to help organisations, businesses and individuals assess their vulnerability and take practical action on a local level. Please visit www.climatesouthwest.org for further information.
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