Seven in 10 health professionals say climate change is impacting public health in Australia, and 86% said they want to see immediate action on climate change, according to a new report out today by the Climate and Health Alliance, Real, Urgent and Now: Insights from health professionals on climate and health in Australia.
The report includes data from the largest ever national survey on climate and health. The survey was completed by 875 health professionals across Australia, including doctors, nurses, public health professionals and more. It found:
- Climate change is already having a moderate to great impact on public health in Australia, agreed 72% of respondents
- Climate change is a serious problem requiring immediate action, agreed 86% of respondents
- Climate change is already disrupting staff provision and damaging healthcare infrastructure, agreed 83% of respondents
- Extreme weather or a natural disaster had affected 55% of respondents’ workplaces in the previous 12 months
- The most common climate-related health conditions seen by respondents were heat stress, mental distress related to climate change, respiratory illnesses, bodily harm from bushfires, and pollen-related allergies. Respondents expect climate-related presentations to increase over the next decade.
Health professionals say they are looking for information, training and resources to respond to climate change from their professional associations and health departments.
Media contact: Remy Shergill, 0423 075 895, [email protected]
Public Health Association of Australia CEO, Terry Slevin says:
“It's undeniable that climate change is affecting people's health across Australia. As the climate heats up, extreme weather will become more frequent and intense, and put our health system under enormous pressure. The federal government must show leadership on climate change by ensuring healthcare is climate-resilient, and delivering immediate emissions cuts to protect public health.
“Our response to climate change must also be guided by the expertise and public health policy responses to combatting the COVID19 pandemic.”
Australian Medical Student Association President, Sophie Keen says:
“The survey confirms that medical students are highly alarmed about climate change, and how it will affect their workplace throughout their careers. The federal government must immediately cut emissions and make a plan so Australia’s healthcare services can cope with demand surge during extreme heat and disasters.”