The health community in Australia is calling for strong action on climate change as the prescription for political parties looking for a winning formula in the upcoming federal election. The electorate is becoming more aware of the growing risks to the wellbeing, safety and health of communities around Australia.

The Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA), a national coalition of health groups, representing over 300,000 doctors, nurses, midwives, social workers, psychologists, physiotherapists, allied health professionals and health care consumers, has launched its policy platform this week, outlining the priorities of health groups for effective climate action to protect health.

Leading experts such as Professor Tony McMichael from Australian National University have joined the call, saying climate change should be the key health issue in this election….

…CAHA President Dr Liz Hanna said: “The health sector is already under pressure, and increasing heatwaves, fires, floods and storms will place even greater demand on frontline and community health services as people struggle with associated injuries, illnesses and trauma. The long recovery period from these events is often under estimated, as the toll upon human health and local economies linger for years.”……

…..The Climate and Health Alliance is calling for Australia to commit to the major emissions reductions now urgently required by developed nations in order to avoid the globally agreed ‘safe’ maximum of a two degrees Celsius increase.

A national strategy is a key issue, health groups say, as is the establishment of a sustainable healthcare unit within the Department of Health and Ageing to help drive the health sector’s transition to low carbon operations.

Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven said: “The health sector has an important role to play in terms of responding to changing demand patterns arising from climate change but also by improving the sector’s sustainability relating to emissions, energy production and waste management.  This can not only deliver significant financial savings, but also support improvements in health status of staff and the community.”

See full press release at: http://caha.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/130805_Health-groups-put-climate-first-in-election-poll_final.pdf
For more information about the Climate and Health Alliance federal election 2013 policy platform, visit: http://caha.org.au/campaigns/federal-election-2013/ <http://caha.org.au/campaigns/federal-election-2013/

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