New framework launched to reduce toxic air around hospitals

The first-ever Clean Air Hospital Framework (CAHF) has been launched today (March 5) by the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust (GOSH) and Global Action Plan. 

The strategy is aimed at improving air quality in and around hospitals in order to create a healthier environment for patients and their families, staff, and the local community.

The issue of toxic air around NHS services was highlighted last month when UK100 analysis of air pollution data revealed that one in three (17.9 million) NHS patients in England are registered at a GP practice that exceeds the World Health Organisation annual limit for PM2.5 air pollution.

London has by far the biggest numbers, with 7.5 million patients attending a surgery that breaches WHO air pollution limits, representing three-quarters of the GP population.

The CAHF will look at seven key areas trusts can address including travel, procurement and supply chain, local air quality, and communication and training. It is hoped that the wider NHS community will champion the framework, so patients and communities across the UK can benefit.

Over the next 12 to 18 months, the hospital will introduce a number of measures to improve the environment in and around the hospital, including creating interactive materials for patients, integrating clean air education into the staff induction process, establishing a programme of air quality monitoring, procuring alternative products for soft service needs and introducing CAHF requirements into the hospital tendering process.

Great Ormond Street currently treats a number of patients with conditions that are impacted by air quality, including cystic fibrosis, cardiorespiratory conditions, chronic asthma, lung disease and other airway anomalies. As such, the hospital is committed to pioneering solutions that address this emerging environmental health issue.

Speaking at the launch of the framework this morning (March 5), Matthew Shaw, chief executive of GOSH said: ‘GOSH is proud to partner with Global Action Plan and develop the first ever Clean Air Hospital Framework.

‘We see a number of patients in our hospital who are impacted by air quality, and as an NHS Trust we are delighted to be pioneering a strategy aimed at creating a healthy environment for patients, staff and the surrounding community. We hope other hospitals will be inspired to do the same so that patients and communities across the UK may benefit.’

Chris Large, senior partner at Global Action Plan added: ‘Air pollution is a health issue which requires a health sector response. GOSH has led the way on this by working with Global Action Plan to create the very first Clean Air Hospital Framework.

‘Now we’re calling for all hospitals across the UK to take up the mantle and become clean air champions for their local communities. That’s why we’ve made the framework free to access and fully adaptable. We welcome hospitals to get in touch to ask questions about how to implement their strategy.’

Read more about the framework here.