Greener NHS – Embedded Researcher pitch

Interest in climate resilience

The three Integrated Care Systems (ICS) (WYHHP, HCV and SYB) are working closely together in taking on the Greener NHS challenge to decarbonise the NHS and the Yorkshire region by 2040.

Climate Change is already affecting many of the health care systems across the Yorkshire region. Paradoxically, providing health and social care contributes to climate change and increases the risks – especially to those who are already most deprived in our society.  From heat waves to flooding, moorland fires to droughts.  mental health problems, increase in skin cancers and sea level rise, the ripple effects on the health system are evident. The increasing impact of climate change is already affecting the health of the region.

Around 7%, of the UKs hospitals and GP surgeries are located within flood plains or at risk of inundation from sea level rise.  The Yorkshire Ambulance Service has to attend incidents, driving through extreme weather across the region with an increasing amount of risk.

While all the large healthcare providers such as hospitals have emergency plans, most don’t have resilience plans and small providers are unlikely to have given much thought to resilience. There is therefore significant need for resilience research and promotion as Yorkshire is an area that will see huge tracts of land be below sea level in the next 30 years. The NHS needs to start to identify where resilience and adaptation needs to be incorporated across the system.  We also need to identify future climatic patterns that we need to incorporate into our future health plans.

Motivation for being involved in the scheme

We have over 90 organisations within the ICS region who help to improve the health of over 5 million people.  There is little to no knowledge of how climate change will influence healthcare within the region and what we need to plan into our longer term health planning.  This work would inform workstreams across the estates, fleet, health, extreme weather planning teams as well as senior decision makers in healthcare leadership in the region. There will therefore be a direct benefit to the lives of millions of people. We are looking for a dynamic person to help to facilitate a cross cutting knowledge transfer from academia into healthcare.

The local ICSs are already seen as national leaders when it comes to climate change and we recognise that our work on resilience is not as good as it could be. Any work that is carried out in Yorkshire and Humber will be seen as an exemplar project for other regions nationally.

We would like a researcher to work to translate, signpost and apply knowledge on climate resilience and adaptation across the region to enable innovation and knowledge sharing.

Ideas for research topics or knowledge brokering activities

These are some of the ideas that we would like to propose as part of this project:

  • Establish a county wide adaptation and resilience objective to be included within the ICSs climate change strategies for 2022-27
  • Create a data baseline on historical impacts on health from climate change across the region
  • Create a unified monitoring and reporting framework
  • To help enable and share the project, risks and solutions across the region
  • Identify risks of heat vulnerability, water incidents, flooding hotspots amongst other climate risks and suggest mitigating strategies
  • Identify the health impacts from climate change across the region and assess the vulnerable population areas
  • Identify areas of good climate resilience through green social prescribing, green space, resilience planning, health planning and promote them more widely
  • Design an assessment and action programme to identify future risks to the health and wellbeing across the county
  • Inform the health and social care system of future risks to health and healthcare estate
  • Develop an education programme to work with the health network to create an awareness of the risks, the mitigation and the
  • To help to strengthen health networks to create climate resilience across the region
  • To work with local and regional organisations (like EA, Met Office, Yorkshire Water etc) to align with the regional agenda
  • To work with the WYHHP and the HCV ICS to create a policy with action plans to protect health systems and communities that we serve

Get in touch with Greener NHS

Researchers who would like to discuss this Embedded Researcher pitch with Greener NHS should contact Alexis Percival, Frank Swinton and Katrina Cleary on alexis.percival@nhs.net, frank.swinton@nhs.net and katrina.cleary@nhs.net

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Last updated June 2021

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