In the UK every year, air pollution causes 20,200 respiratory and cardiovascular hospital admissions and up to 36,000 deaths. Air pollution can be damaging to everyone’s health, especially for children with asthma.
All north east London Boroughs are named air quality management areas, meaning they have high levels of air pollution. Out of the 10 places in the UK with the highest number of deaths related to air pollution, 7 of those are in north east London.
NHS North East London, together with Global Action Plan, have designed resources and training to provide GPs and health professionals with the tools to talk to families about the impacts of air pollution and support children with respiratory conditions to help reduce their exposure to air pollution.
Led by Air Quality Clinical Lead for NHS North East London, Dr Rachel Parker, the work has been supported by asthma Clinical Nurse Specialists in all our place-based partnerships, and the North East London Children and Young People Asthma Clinical Network.
“Understanding the impacts of air pollution on health is so important to everyone living in north east London, but particularly for children with asthma. Studies have shown that air pollution can play a part in causing asthma for some children, and for those who already have asthma, being exposed to more air pollution can increase the frequency and the severity of their chronic asthma symptoms.
Sadly, over the last few years we have seen a number of asthma related deaths involving children in our communities, one of them being directly related to air pollution exposure.
Being able to provide resources and information to asthma nurses, GPs, health professionals and those working in schools means we can all play a part in ensuring children and families understand the impacts air pollution has on their health, and what simple steps they can take to help” says Dr Parker.
The resources have been co-designed with local children, families and health professionals and are available on our air pollution webpage.