27 April 2018

New Research on The Impact of Climate Change on Health a 'Stark Warning', Says RCGP

Commenting on the Lancet Countdown's report on air pollution and the health benefits of the UK's Climate Change Act, published in The Lancet Planetary Health, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Climate change is a clear risk to the health and wellbeing of the British population.

"Whilst we have been aware of this risk for some time, this latest research serves as a stark warning about the trajectory of the challenges if we don't act now. Perhaps most shocking is the estimated 50 million predicted years of life lost across Great Britain between 2011 and 2154 if certain factors don't improve.

"As GPs, we are already seeing more patients presenting with conditions that could be related to pollution, or illnesses exacerbated by poor air quality, particularly in vulnerable members of our communities.

"In the long-term, air pollution will almost certainly have a damaging effect on lung capacity in children, and contribute to potentially life-threatening conditions such as cancer and coronary artery disease.

"This study shows that an 80% cut in greenhouse gases will dramatically reduce air pollution. So, from a health perspective, it would certainly make sense to take urgent measures achieve this.

"What is good for the planet is usually good for our patients' health, and the NHS as a whole."

Further Information
RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633/7410
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The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.