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‘We need a cross-government approach to tackling health inequalities’

Royal College of Physicians launches latest video podcast interview with Sophie Howe, future generations commissioner.

As COP26 draws to a close, the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has launched its latest video podcast. In it Dr Olwen Williams interviews Sophie Howe, future generations commissioner, about health inequalities, climate change and her call for a national nature service for Wales.

Dr Olwen Williams, RCP vice president for Wales said:

‘We are very privileged in Wales to have the Well-being of the Future Generations Act, a world-leading piece of legislation which brings together ambitions for our social, cultural, environmental and economic wellbeing. Sophie was a fantastic guest. I thank her for joining us and hopefully all our RCP members will enjoy our conversation.

‘The recent report from the commissioner’s office, ‘Inequality in a Future Wales: areas for action in work, climate and demographic change, found that existing socio-economic inequalities in Wales risk being carried into the future unless they are proactively addressed. The RCP, along with 36 other organisations in Wales has endorsed the call for a Welsh cross-government strategy to tackle health inequalities, and we strongly welcome this latest report from the future generations commissioner.’

Sophie Howe, future generations commissioner said:

‘We’re not going to have good human health if we don’t have good planetary health. Those connections are very clear.

‘The NHS is covered by the Future Generations Act, and health boards have to demonstrate how they’re meeting seven wellbeing goals, including a more ecologically resilient Wales. People are becoming far more acutely aware of their responsibility to the planet and thinking about how we could use nature to help improve people’s health and wellbeing. Essentially, the Future Generations Act is about improving people’s health as well as protecting our environmental infrastructure.

‘We need a cross-government approach to tackling health inequalities. One of the things that I’m advocating is that the climate change department in the Welsh government should fund the establishment of a national nature service, which would provide jobs, be good for people’s health, and restore nature and biodiversity.’

Watch the interview here.