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Warning over climate change diseases

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Extreme weather conditions associated with climate change, such as frequent floods and heat waves, could have huge health impacts for the UK, doctors have warned.

The BMA has warned in a report that higher temperatures and heavier rainfall may increase the spread of infections like malaria that have been virtually non-existent in the UK.

More flooding may lead to the spread of contaminated substances, including chemical waste, pesticides or inadequately treated sewage. Warmer climates may also mean an increase in skin cancers, sunburn and stroke.

The report, ‘Health professionals – taking action on climate change’, is calling on doctors and other health professionals to take the lead on this issue.

Dr Vivienne Nathanson, the BMA’s Head of Science and Ethics, said today: ‘Our report provides doctors with practical measures they can take in order to reduce their negative impact on the environment. Given that it is the health service that often picks up the pieces when severe weather conditions strike, it makes sense for the NHS to invest in preventative healthcare and treatment for the health implications relating to climate change.’

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Readers' comments (1)

  • The nhs,like the UK government and world leaders,are failing to take climate change as seriously as they should?We are talking about a human disaster,bigger than any of twentieth century world wars.I have heard some nurses state state that highlighting the consequences of climate change is beyond our nursing role.Such an attitude becomes more shallow, and redundant with each passing day.This issue is affecting health across the globe already (the loss of farmland to deserts,the heatwaves across Europe etc),and is only just beginning to bite).
    Nurses have a responsibility to educate others,re health issues.Those who consider it beyond their role,are seriously misguided.

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