RCPsych backs climate change call

The College has added its name to a joint letter calling for the Prime Minister to rethink his decision to issue new licences for North Sea oil and gas.

Health workers are already seeing the consequences of ill health caused by high temperatures, extreme weather and pollution.

To illustrate the point, more than 3,000 excess deaths were recorded in England and Wales during the heatwaves between June and August 2022 – and if mitigating action is not taken, heat-related deaths are expected to rise to around 7,000 a year by the 2050s.

To indicate our concern, the College has co-signed a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak from the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, joining a large number of medical royal colleges and other peer organisations in making the call.

The letter reads:

“We are worried about climate change and the implications for our patients and the NHS. We know that others share our concern – climate change is the second biggest concern facing adults in the UK... the Government should focus on delivering its commitments to transition to renewable energy with a credible strategy for decarbonising electricity supply with increasing production of onshore wind and solar.”

Instead of issuing new licences for fossil fuels, an ambitious programme of retrofitting insulation and clean heat generation in all homes and public buildings can reduce fuel consumption and cost, the letter tells the Prime Minister.

The College’s support is consistent with our position statement published in May 2021, ‘The planet’s climate and ecological emergency’ which makes clear the association between climate change and mental health in the UK and around the world.

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