I am writing following storm Eunice in February 2022. The Health Board told everyone to work from home if possible and patients should not be brought to the surgery, if we could avoid it. Lorries had been flipped over, houses lost electricity and a few lives were lost in the UK as a whole.
This is how Global Warming will effect us in Wales- storms and flooding (I never thought somewhere so hilly would have floods)!!
If we all do something about it, then we can help prevent it getting too much worse, but we all need to act as soon as possible.
As doctors, we know that many things that are good for the planet will also be good for the health of our patients, and we will be working hard to do these things over the next few years.
People suffering asthma would get better control by moving away from old fashioned aerosol based puffer type inhalers, which contain large amounts of greenhouse gases. We know that more modern Dry Powder Inhalers are easier to use and get medicines inside people’s lungs, better than the old fashioned puffers, as well as being much less damaging for the environment.
Using too much salbutamol inhaler means that your asthma is not well controlled and in fact, more than two inhalers a year is a pointer to poor control. People have fewer symptoms if they start using Maintenance And Reliever Treatment (MART) plans.
Over the next few years, we aim to help asthmatic patients get better control with these two actions and others.
We will keep using telephone contact first, when we think the problem can be dealt with safely by phone, to cut down on how much travel is needed; but we will always see patients whom we think need to be seen. We have also asked the Welsh Government to put in place a way to send prescriptions electronically to pharmacies close to where people live, so they don’t have to come to the surgery just to collect them.
The City Centre Cluster of Doctors’ Surgeries is also doing things to minimise Global Warming. For instance, our paramedic Keith now has an electric vehicle to visit patients at home. This will also help cut the car related air pollution from small particles, which cause harms to health, such as asthma, COPD and even cancer. This air pollution already kills 60,000 people a year in Britain – almost as many every year as COVID did, but without the huge publicity.
Other changes that will help us get to net zero carbon will also be good for people’s health. If people walk or cycle instead of driving, then it will cut heart disease and probably also falls. Reducing how much meat you eat (especially beef) is better for your heart and health and better for the planet.
Together we can fight Global Warming and make people healthier!