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RCEM leads publish sustainability statement for ‘green’ emergency healthcare

24 May 2023

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) has published its policy position on Environmentally Sustainable Emergency Healthcare.

Dr Sandy Robertson, who is co-lead of The College’s Green ED programme said: “We are delighted to be publishing our policy statement today.

“The climate emergency impacts every one of us and we know our members are committed to supporting the transition to carbon neutral healthcare and this statement sets out our core principles as we all work toward that.”

“Over the last year in the UK more than 3,000 people died because of heatwaves. And we know that poor air quality can lead to increases in heart attacks, strokes, lung cancer and asthma – all conditions with which people regularly present at A&E departments.”

“Concerningly the NHS accounts for 4% of the carbon footprint for the whole of the UK and we must take steps to reduce this, to improve the health of patients and to ensure a safer, greener future for everyone.”

Earlier this month the World Meteorological Organisation warned that there’s now a 66% chance the 1.5C global warming threshold will be passed between now and 2027.All nations of the UK have established targets to transition to net zero healthcare over the next 15-20 years.

In England those targets are enshrined in the Health and Care Act (2022), with the responsibility for achieving these targets lying with the Integrated Care Boards.

The NHS was the world’s first health service to commit to reaching carbon net zero with its Greener NHS programme.

Visit RCEM’s Sustainability page to find out more.


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