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Home E Featured News E New scheme launches which will alert GPs to high pollution in order to protect patients

New scheme launches which will alert GPs to high pollution in order to protect patients

GP practices in London will be alerted to episodes of high air pollution to help them protect patients against the dangers of poor-quality air, under a scheme launched this month. Emails about air quality alerts will be sent to GPs and emergency departments across London around 24 hours before an episode of high air pollution is forecast. GPs are being targeted so they can use the information to have conversations with patients on how air pollution affects them and advise what steps they can take to reduce their risk of harm.

They will be encouraged to remind patients to follow their asthma plan or to take their preventer inhaler. The initiative has been developed by the London Air Quality and Health Programme Office, organisations from across London’s health and care system and the Mayor of London. Alerts are triggered by forecasts from Imperial College London. It is anticipated there will be four to five a year. Air pollution is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK, GPs were warned in a letter sent about the new alert system from NHS England London.

According to NHS England London, the capital has the highest mortality burden attributable to air pollution of any English region and London’s most vulnerable citizens are disproportionately impacted. Dr Jo Sauvage, North Central London ICB Chief Medical Officer and Islington GP said: ‘The impact of air quality on the health of our residents has become very, very important, particularly after Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah’s death in 2013. ‘Receiving alerts can also remind me to talk to patients about the importance of air quality,’ she added. ‘Air quality is just like all the other factors that are linked with inequalities and so it is an important factor that we must advocate for change around.’

GP practices have been signposted to environmental charity Global Action Plan’s Clean Air Hub to watch training videos and download information and resources to share with patients and display in practice.

You can listen to a podcast where Dr Jo Sauvage discusses the impact  air pollution on health.