National Health and Climate Strategy

The Australian Healthcare and Hospital Association would like to congratulate the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care, The Hon Mark Butler MP Minister for Health and Aged Care and The Hon Ged Kearney MP, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, on the release of the National Health and Climate Strategy. In an Australian first, the Strategy confronts the real and immediate threat climate change has on the health and wellbeing of all Australians and our healthcare system.

The National Climate and Health Strategy has been launched at the inaugural health day, at COP28, being held this year in the United Arab Emirates.

“Healthcare systems are impacted by climate change as more frequent and extreme weather events lead to more emergency room visits, hospitalisations and deaths. They are also a significant contributor to the emissions accelerating climate change,” says AHHA Chief Executive Kylie Woolcock.

“The Strategy acknowledges that even with efforts to slow and mitigate climate change, our healthcare system needs to be supported along with communities to face the health implications of climate change.”

The Strategy outlines four key objectives that focus on health system resilience, health system decarbonisation, international collaboration, and health in all policies.

“These core objectives will help to lay the foundations of a strong and resilient healthcare system that can deliver the care that people and communities need as we accept the realities of a changing climate.

“To help ensure that our health system can continue to provide high-quality health care, the Strategy will support and facilitate health-climate risk assessment and health adaptation planning throughout the system, as well as system preparedness, response and recovery in the event of climate-related disasters and extreme weather events, with a particular focus on the role of primary care in these events.

“The Strategy will also help guide future plans on decarbonisation of the Australian healthcare system, recognising the currently limited reporting and data available on healthcare emissions and the need to examine the whole of the health supply chain when it comes to emission reduction. ‘By using a ‘health in all policies’ perspective, the Strategy is a step in the right direction towards breaking down the silos between sectors, in order to collectively reduce and lessen the impact of climate change on our health and wellbeing.

‘Identifying the need to collaborate internationally to help build sustainable, climate-resilient health systems and communities is also a key component of the Strategy.

“‘AHHA is already working with international partners in this area, through our connections with the International Hospital Federation (IHF) and their Geneva Sustainability Centre, whose aim is to drive net zero, climate resilient and sustainable healthcare.”

 

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