Welcome to the environmental sustainability learning gateway.
The NHS was the first healthcare system in the world to declare a climate emergency and has set ambitious targets to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has published a climate declaration and stated that all pharmacists have a professional responsibility to take a leading role in reducing the environmental impact of medicines use. The Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK have also declared a climate emergency and made a series of commitments to tackling the crisis.
So why is it so important that these organisations have made these commitments and what is the relevance of the climate and ecological crisis to us a ss pharmacy professionals?
There is no denying that we are in the midst of a climate and ecological crisis – the science is clear. Over the last 100 years, carbon dioxide levels have been rising at an increasingly accelerated rate, resulting in the warming of our atmosphere and the acidification of our oceans and seas, risking the finely balanced equilibrium of the world’s ecosystems. The exponential rate of consumption and production of waste by humans is also having a catastrophic effect on the planet. Microplastic pollution can be found in the most remote corners of the earth. 9 out of 10 people worldwide live in places where the air pollution exceeds WHO guidelines.
The climate and ecological crisis is the most significant health threat modern society has ever faced. It threatens our access to clean air and water, our ability to grow food, it puts millions of lives at risk from pollution and disease, and places homes at risk from wildfire and flooding. Here in the UK, air pollution is associated with up to 36,000 deaths per year. Flooding not only destroys people’s homes and livelihoods, but also increases their risk of suffering long term mental health problems such as depression. Heatwaves increase the risk of death in the elderly and those with chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and kidney disease.
Every healthcare professional has a responsibility to understand the health impacts of the climate and ecological crisis. As respected and trusted professionals, we need to demonstrate leadership by practising in a more sustainable way and in working towards optimising both human health and planetary health.
There is a huge amount of work going on to address both healthcare’s contribution to the climate crisis and the health impacts of the climate crisis. This learning gateway will signpost you to resources to find out more about why the climate crisis is a health crisis and, most importantly, what we can about it.
eLfH has developed the Environmentally sustainable healthcare modules to support healthcare professionals to deliver healthcare that is financially, socially and environmentally sustainable. Unit 1 focuses on building a net zero NHS and Unit 2 addresses environmental sustainability in quality improvement.
The 2022/23 Investment and Impact fund guidance includes several targets aiming to deliver high quality, lower carbon respiratory care for patients. These include two targets in the Respiratory care domain and two targets in the sustainable NHS domain. This document gives an overview and links to resources to support lower carbon respiratory care including greener inhaler prescribing.
Sustainability in Quality Improvement (SusQI) provides information, support and a quality improvement framework. The Framework embeds sustainability into the existing quality improvement models for healthcare. Find out how patient outcomes can be improved along with reducing the social and financial environmental impact of healthcare in your next quality improvement project.
The Green Impact for Health Toolkit has been designed to support general practices to improve their sustainability and reduce their environmental impact. This tool will help general practice teams to identify areas of improvement in a cost effective way.
The Greener practice, High Quality And Low Carbon Asthma Care toolkit has been designed to support primary care improve asthma care while reducing carbon emissions. The toolkit also provides step by step support for quality improvement projects and aids GP practices in meeting the Investment Impact Fund (IIF) indicators.
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