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DHBs Commended for Initiative Over Climate Change

MEDIA STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,
WEDNESDAY, 30 APRIL 2014

District Health Boards Commended for Initiative Over Global Warming And Climate Change

“South Island district health boards (DHBs) are to be commended for taking the initiative to manage the increased health risks associated with global warming and climate change,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).

The region’s five DHBs belong to the South Island Alliance, which has established a working group to identify the health risks and develop sustainable, long-term solutions. Health risks linked to climate change and an increase in extreme weather events include disease, food and water shortages, and displacement of people.

“These issues are important and need to be on the radar of health agencies now so we’re not left scrambling for solutions down the track when the effects of climate change start to bite,” says Mr Powell.

“We’re very pleased the South Island DHBs are proactively tackling these issues and note that Counties Manukau is also at the forefront of trying to meet this challenge. We hope the other North Island DHBs are doing similar planning. Increased health risks will put considerable additional pressure on New Zealand’s health system and, of course, the front line clinical staff who provide health care.”

He says one initiative public hospitals should consider, as part of their overall response to these issues, is the buying of fresh healthy food locally.

“I know this runs counter to the prevailing thinking of national procurement for a range of things, including food, but buying local food would be a good move for our hospitals. It would benefit patients and staff, and also provide much-needed support for local economies which in turn will help communities weather the effects of climate change and global warming.”

Ian Powell

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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