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11 February 2022
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The climate crisis is a health crisis. Say it again. Then say it louder.

By Dr Rammina Yassaie

FMLM Trainee Steering Group representative for the North and GP ST2 in Harrogate.

These were the words from the Chief Sustainability Officer for the NHS, Dr Nick Watts, at the Leaders in Healthcare conference in November 2021.

Not only is it definite that the climate crisis is a health crisis, but it is also the defining crisis of our time. The impacts of climate change are unequivocal, irreversible and affecting populations around the world today, but we are starting to see glimmers of hope in UK healthcare.

While Nick’s words clearly struck a chord with many in the conference hall that day, the overall sense that resonated throughout was one of hope. Hope and a deepening appreciation that it is well within our capacity as individuals, teams and organisations to push back this global threat, as long as we work as a collective. It is our responsibility, as clinicians and as leaders, to be concerned about the future for our patients and the impact healthcare and other sectors are having on our planet.

It was inspiring and powerful to hear from the audience about some of the leadership initiatives they had taken in their own organisations to move the NHS closer to its target of becoming a ‘carbon net zero’ organisation; the world’s first national health system to commit to this ambitious goal.

The discussion at Leaders in Healthcare conference 2021 emphasised to me how important it is that we continue to learn from the leaders in this arena, and to strengthen our resilience in the collaborative efforts and strong leadership skills that are needed to tackle the climate crisis, both meaningfully and resolutely. This is now an objective of FMLM’s new five-year strategy, published last month, which underscores the crucial role of leadership in driving the global sustainability agenda forward.

On 2 March at 7pm, FMLM’s Trainee Steering Group will be hosting an interactive webinar, Leading Through the Climate Crisis which aims to take a deep dive into what medical and healthcare leadership in this challenging and volatile sphere really means. 

We are fortunate that Dr Nick Watts has agreed to open the session with his own personal leadership reflections which will, no doubt, be inspiring to us all. Participants will then experience and be able to contribute to a rich, empowering and thought-provoking discussion from a number of panellists who are also leaders in sustainability and planetary health.

The aim of the webinar is to keep the dialogue open, the hope alive and to remind us that we can all be leaders in this space too.

Save the date and join us at 7pm on Wednesday 2 March.

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