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PCRS response to NHS commitment to become net-zero by 2040


PCRS welcomes the NHS commitment to becoming net carbon zero by 2040 as set out in the report “Delivering a Net Zero Health Service” (released today 1 October 2020).

Climate change poses a major threat to our health, as well as our environment, and contributing factors such as poor indoor and outdoor air quality are implicated in the aetiology and control of respiratory conditions. Proactive measures to reduce carbon emissions and encourage healthier lifestyles such as moving towards cycling, walking and taking public transport are all positive ways in which the NHS can help to promote and protect good planetary and human health.

PCRS supports initiatives to improve air quality and minimise short and long term damage to the environment, particularly those with an impact on climate change resulting from greenhouse gases. We believe that such initiatives should cover a variety of issues including better patient education and switching from pMDIs to dry powder inhalers (DPIs) or soft mist inhalers (SMIs) where the change is clinically appropriate, safe and acceptable to patients.  Therefore we support the NHS commitment to develop resources which aid patients in opting for low impact medicines where clinically appropriate.

We are also pleased to see mention of the development of a programme to encourage patients to return inhaler devices for green disposal and look forward to seeing more detail about options for recycling in coming months.

PCRS is strongly committed to supporting Greener Respiratory Healthcare and we are currently consulting with members on a PCRS white paper, PCRS Greener Respiratory Healthcare That is Kinder to the Environment, which sets out a series of measures to help patients get the right treatment to control their conditions and ultimately reduce waste, as well as longer term actions including the promotion and facilitation of recycling and greener disposal of inhalers.

We look forward to working closely with the healthcare industry and NHSE on future measures that help to realise the NHS net zero target.    

Read the PCRS position on Environmental Issues in respiratory disease