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London installs air quality monitors in hospitals

The monitors will provide real-time air quality measurements that will allow health professionals to take appropriate action to protect patients and employees.

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St Thomas' Hospital in London will be among those to install air quality monitors
St Thomas' Hospital in London will be among those to install air quality monitors

Ten hospitals in the most polluted areas of London will be equipped with new air quality monitors to measure levels of toxic air and help protect patients and staff.

 

It is part of Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Breathe project and follows the move to provide pupils from five London primary schools with backpacks fitted with air quality sensors on their journey to and from school to help monitor the levels of toxic air.

 

High pollution level warnings

 

A study by King’s College London and the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change found 60 per cent of hospitals and NHS facilities in inner London are located in areas that exceed the legal limit for air quality pollutants.

The new hospital monitors will support the NHS by providing real-time air quality measurements that will allow health professionals to take appropriate action to protect patients and employees – for example, warning patients about high pollution episodes and advising which hospital entrances have the lowest levels of pollution.

 

Hospitals and NHS facilities will be able to assess the impact of measures they take to improve air quality, such as cleaning up their vehicle fleet or running no idling schemes.

“Vulnerable hospital patients are more susceptible to the harmful effects of our toxic air pollution health crisis that harms lung growth and is linked to asthma, cancer and dementia”

Researchers will use on site air pollution concentrations alongside patient records to better understand the relationship between air pollution and health effects

The first monitor is already up and running at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, with others due to be installed shortly at the Trust’s other three hospitals The Royal London, Whipps Cross and Newham Hospitals, as well as at Great Ormond Street Hospital, the Royal Free Hospital, Guy’s Hospital and St Thomas’ Hospital and other NHS sites in London.

 

Monitoring network

 

The monitors are part of Mayor Sadiq Khan’s drive to deliver the world’s most advanced and comprehensive network of air quality monitors in London to help investigate and improve London’s toxic air.

“Vulnerable hospital patients are more susceptible to the harmful effects of our toxic air pollution health crisis that harms lung growth and is linked to asthma, cancer and dementia,” said Khan.

 

“I’m doing everything in my power to protect Londoners from polluted air including cleaning up our bus and taxi fleet, and establishing the largest air quality monitoring network of any major city.

“The ability to get real time air quality data will mean patients and staff will be able to make informed decisions about how they can help reduce their exposure to poor quality air”

"We are now counting down to the world’s first 24-hour seven-day-a-week Ultra Low Emission Zone in the central London congestion charge zone, which will help clean our air and reduce NOx road transport emissions in central London, including around many hospitals, by 45 per cent."

 

The ULEZ will begin in central London on 8 April.

 

Earlier this month Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) and Global Action Plan published their new Clean Air Hospitals Framework and recommended installing air quality monitoring at NHS sites.

 

“As a specialist children’s hospital, we see a number of patients in our hospital who are impacted by air quality,” said Matthew Shaw, chief executive of GOSH. “The ability to get real time air quality data will mean patients and staff will be able to make informed decisions about how they can help reduce their exposure to poor quality air. We hope other hospitals will be inspired to adopt the Clean Air Hospital Framework so that patients and communities across the UK may benefit.”

 

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