BTS launches its new Position Statement on Sustainability and the Environment: Climate Change and Lung Health

The British Thoracic Society (BTS) has published a Position Statement on Sustainability and the Environment: Climate Change and Lung Health, which sets out the Society’s stance on how the impact of climate change and the carbon footprint of respiratory healthcare can be assessed, reduced and mitigated.

Climate change is the greatest threat to health the world has ever faced, with factors such as global heating, ocean acidification and pollution contributing to wildfires, droughts, and an increase in pollutants such as ozone and NO2. The impact on respiratory health is significant, leading to increased incidence and exacerbations of airways disease, interstitial lung disease and lung cancer.

The structure of the Position Statement is aligned with the Principles of Sustainability Healthcare, namely Prevention, Patient empowerment, Lean Pathways and Low Carbon Alternatives. It sets out the areas of concern and identifies a number of positive actions that BTS, healthcare professionals, organisations and industry can undertake to reduce health harms, address inequalities and contribute to the protection of our planet.

BTS Chair Paul Walker commented, “The climate emergency is a health emergency which has a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable and is particularly concerning for people with respiratory disease. Healthcare professionals can provide a powerful voice to highlight the change needed to reduce the worst consequences of global warming. BTS is committed to supporting its members in the integration of sustainability into service improvement and by championing education on how we can support and protect the environment. We must all take action to ensure a healthy future where everyone can thrive.”

BTS is committed to helping address both the negative impacts of climate change on patients and the subsequent carbon emissions generated by disease diagnosis and management. It will also work to ensure that respiratory healthcare professionals are equipped to respond to climate change through the adoption of sustainable practices.

Access the Position Statement on the BTS website here.

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