Health leaders have written to MPs urging them to attend a briefing on climate change by the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance.

The letter, which is signed by 30 health leaders representing members of the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change stressed the importance of the briefing to address the deep concern the climate and ecological crisis is having, and will continue to have on human health.

The full text of the letter and signatories can be viewed below.

Dear Member of Parliament

We write to you as an alliance of health organisations deeply concerned about the impact the climate and ecological emergency is having, and will continue to have, on human health, and to strongly encourage you to attend the briefing led by Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, due to take place on Monday 11th July from 15:30-17:00.

As we understand it, Sir Patrick will be joined by Prof Gideon Henderson, the Chief Scientific Adviser for Defra, Prof Stephen Belcher, Met Office Chief Scientist and Prof Emily Shuckburgh, Director of Cambridge Zero. This will include updates on both the science of climate change and its solutions, and be followed by a Question and Answer session.

This briefing is being held following calls from 79 leading climate scientists and 29 senior health leaders from across the UK, who have warned that climate change is evolving at a rapid pace and will result in catastrophic harm to health that will be impossible to reverse without urgent action at scale and speed. The call from health leaders came following a request to intervene in the case of Angus Rose who went on hunger strike outside parliament.

Health professionals are extremely concerned about the risk that climate change poses to human health and to the additional burdens of these impacts on our stretched health service. Due to the pace of change, it is increasingly difficult to read, digest and appreciate the latest science. However, as elected representatives, politicians have a duty to act in the public interest with objectivity, and “to take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit using the best evidence and without discrimination”.

We welcome the government’s recent guidance for health professionals to act on the climate crisis in their professional practice through education, engagement, promoting and protecting public health. We call on members of parliament to strive for the same as is expected of our professions.

The briefing from the Chief Scientific Adviser will provide the latest scientific evidence on the climate crisis to enable members of parliament to take the decisive actions needed to protect human and planetary health, in much the same way as we witnessed the Chief Medical Officer share vital evidence-based information during the covid pandemic. We strongly urge you to attend so that you are equipped to make informed decisions for the benefit of your constituents, for public health and for our health service.

 

Yours,

Richard Smith, Chair UK Health Alliance on Climate Change

Fiona Godlee, Ambassador UK Health Alliance on Climate Change

Dame Parveen Kumar, Ambassador UK Health Alliance on Climate Change

Robin Stott, Ambassador UK Health Alliance on Climate Change

Dr Kamran Abbasi, Editor-In-Chief, The BMJ

Professor Claire Anderson, President, Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Professor Ed Bulmore, Treasurer, Academy of Medical Sciences

Ms Nicki Credland, Chair, British Association of Critical Care Nurses

Pat Cullen, General Secretary and Chief Executive, Royal College of Nursing

Professor Andrew Elder, President, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

Professor Michael Griffin, President, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

Dr Richard Horton, Editor-In-Chief, The Lancet

Dr Adrian James, President, Royal College of Psychiatrists

Dr Shireen Kassam, Director, Plant-Based Health Professionals UK

Dr Camilla Kingdon, President, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Dr Sandy Mather, Chief Executive Officer, Intensive Care Society

Mr Mike McKirdy, President, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow

Professor Gillian Mead, President, British and Irish Association of Stroke Physicians

Professor Hugh Montgomery, UCL Professor of Intensive Care Medicine; co-chair, Lancet Countdown

Dr Eddie Morris, President, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Professor Neil Mortensen, President, Royal College of Surgeons of England

Dr Mike Nathanson, President, Association of Anaesthetists

Lizzie O’Brien, co-chair of the Students for Global Health Climate and Health group

Dr Latifa Patel, Representative Body Chair, British Medical Association

Professor Maggie Rae, President, Faculty of Public Health

Professor Gillian Tierney, President-elect, Association of Surgeons of Great Britain & Ireland

Professor Andrew Veitch, President, British Society of Gastroenterology

Dr Paul Walker, Chair, British Thoracic Society

Professor Mike Wang, Chair, Association of Clinical Psychologists UK

Dr Stephen Webb, President, Intensive Care Society