NHS leaders offered free resource to help address air pollution

A new resource is available from today to support every NHS Integrated Care System (ICS) to improve air quality around healthcare settings across England.

Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) are partnerships within the NHS that plan and deliver joined up health and care services to improve the lives of people who live and work in their area.

More than 97% of postcodes in the UK are in breach of at least one World Health Organization (WHO) limit for toxic pollutants, including vulnerable environments such as healthcare settings.

To protect the millions of people who access healthcare settings, the ICS Clean Air Framework empowers healthcare leaders to take action on cleaner air.

The Framework is freely available to all 42 ICSs nationally to aid the development of an action plan to improve air quality around all healthcare access points in England.

person wearing lavatory gown with green stethoscope on neck using phone while standing

The ICS Clean Air Framework has been developed to support every ICS in England to become a ‘Clean Air Champion’. Joining forces to drive the initiative forward is environmental change charity Global Action Plan, Newcastle Hospitals and Boehringer Ingelheim.

The Framework launch coincides with Clean Air Day on 16 June, which this year reveals how air pollution impacts almost every organ in the body. Professor Sir Stephen Holgate, Special Advisor on air quality to the Royal College of Physicians and UKRI’s Clean Air Champion, explained: ‘Air pollution is an invisible killer and plays a role in many of today’s major health challenges. The ICS Clean Air Framework is a ground-breaking resource to support the NHS in implementing air quality improvement initiatives that will ultimately protect the health, wellbeing and economic sustainability of today’s communities and future generations.’

The Framework is being pioneered by Newcastle Hospitals, who are first to drive the development of an action plan in their region. James Dixon, Associate Director of Sustainability at Newcastle Hospitals, said: ‘The NHS has an opportunity to lead by example and set the benchmark for clean air and safe workplaces. Through the creation of an action plan guided by the ICS Clean Air Framework, here at Newcastle Hospitals, we are already making progress and seeing direct benefits to our communities.’

Larissa Lockwood, Director of Clean Air, Global Action Plan, explains how the ICS Clean Air Framework can support healthcare leaders in taking action: ‘Air pollution kills seven million people globally each year, which is more than malaria, HIV/AIDS and obesity combined. It is a public health crisis that needs immediate action from the health sector. It also cannot be right that our most vulnerable are exposed to it in our places of care – is it fair that a baby must take its first breath in a polluted environment? By developing this framework and working at the Integrated Care System level, we have the opportunity to tackle some of those area-wide issues, empowering healthcare leaders to pursue action on air pollution to secure a healthier future for their region.’


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