There is no doubt that our changing climate is a growing health safety concern.
There have been an estimated 2,803 extra deaths in England over the age of 65 during this summer’s record high temperatures and hot weather.
Looking ahead, it’s projected that heat-related deaths will triple by 2050, with the hottest summers we’re seeing now becoming just “normal” summers on record.
Climate change is one of the greatest health security threats we face around the world, potentially having massive impacts on the air we breathe, the quality and availability of our food and water, the risk of infectious diseases, and our mental health and well-being.
UKHSA and our predecessor organizations have been studying and adapting to the health impacts of climate change for many years, whether through our work on extreme weather through surveillance programs to understand the risk of changing diseases caused by mosquitoes and ticks.
But as a new organization with a greater focus than ever on the impact that health emergencies can have across society, now is the time to take this agenda to the next level.
At UKHSA’s conference we will launch a new Center for Climate and Health Protection within UKHSA to lead our efforts to protect health in the context of a changing climate and provide a focus for partnership and collaboration with academia, local authorities and other public sector organisations.
Led by its new Head, Professor Leah Berrang Ford, the Center will add real value to our partners and colleagues, providing scientific advice and support to ensure climate change impacts are considered and embedded in climate change design and delivery. Policies with local and national governments and international partners.
Using UKHSA’s links locally, nationally and internationally we will raise awareness of the impact of climate change on public health, build the evidence base and then combine this to inform policy development.
To date we have identified a number of resources that we believe will add value to decision makers, including providing easy online access to knowledge and evidence, toolkits for local action and the provision of metrics and indicators that track, measure and analyze health. Impact of climate change.
But to ensure they work in practice in all settings, we will engage with local and national government colleagues to ensure the Center provides effective and usable resources that inform decision-making.
Next steps for the center
We have a busy agenda in the coming year as we seek to establish the Center as the hub for climate and health protection work for health protection systems.
We are currently contributing to the 3rd National Adaptation Program overseen by DEFRA which sets out what action the Government and others will take to adapt to the challenges of climate change in England over a five year period.
In addition, the Center will release a single adverse weather and health plan next year. It replaces the Heatwave and Cold Weather Plans for England and provides updated guidance on cold and hot weather, drought and flooding, informed by scientific evidence nationally and internationally.
And next year we will release the fourth iteration of it as well Health impacts of climate change in the UKA landmark report produced periodically and last published in 2012, which provides an analysis of various threats to our health.
Drawing on the experience and expertise of our partners is key to our ambition to deliver truly actionable evidence and guidance.
We look forward to working with you in the coming months and years to adapt and protect communities from the impacts of climate change to save more lives and protect our economy.