The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has joined the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change (UKHACC), a coalition of bodies representing more than 950,000 health professionals who have come together to advocate for public health to be considered in the UK’s response to climate change.
In a statement published on 23 February 2022, the RPS said: “Our membership of the UKHACC builds on our commitment to climate action within pharmacy and healthcare more widely.”
In September 2021, the RPS issued a declaration of climate emergency. Then, in October 2021, it published four sustainability policies focusing on prescribing and medicines use; medicines waste; prevention of ill health and improving infrastructure.
In November 2021, it agreed to end all its investments in fossil fuels by the end of 2022.
Claire Anderson, president of the RPS, said she was “delighted that the RPS is now a full member of UKHACC and to be representing the RPS on the Alliance’s council”.
“Through raising awareness of healthcare’s impact on climate change and enabling health professional groups to speak with one voice, the UKHACC has a leading part in reducing the environmental impact of healthcare in the UK. With climate change being such a seismic challenge, collaboration of this kind is vital.
“It’s great that the RPS can now help support the Alliance’s work and bring our expertise in medicines and their impact on the environment to the table.”
The UKHACC’s ‘Call for climate action’ says: “We call for urgent action to prevent an increase in mean global temperatures of more than 1.5°C, and to mitigate the worst effects of the climate emergency on environmental and human health.”
It also calls for all health services to become net zero “as soon as possible and before 2040”.
In September 2021, the alliance co-ordinated the publication of a call to action in more than 220 international health journals, including The Pharmaceutical Journal, the BMJ and The Lancet.
Then, in November 2021, during the COP26 conference in Glasgow, UKHACC collaborated with the Global Climate and Health Alliance, the World Health Organization and other organisations to deliver a letter to global leaders at the conference, warning that “the climate crisis is the single biggest health threat facing humanity”, calling on world leaders to “deliver on climate action”.
Other members of the UKHACC include the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Physicians.
In an interview with The Pharmaceutical Journal in October 2021, Paul Bennett, chief executive of the RPS, said the Society was “keen to engage with the broader membership” on climate change and sustainability and issued an open invitation to RPS members to get in touch with opinions and ideas.