Mayor of London Sadiq Khan shares clean air ambitions with respiratory patients and staff at GOSH

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, visited Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) earlier this summer as he launched new plans to improve air quality in the capital. GOSH is one of the leading centres in the country for children with complex respiratory conditions, and patients and staff at the hospital know just how important clean air is.
On the 60th anniversary of the Clean Air Act, the Mayor outlined his proposals for tackling air pollution in London and his call to action for the government, businesses and Londoners to work together to address this public health priority.
The Mayor was introduced to patients and staff on Badger ward, a specialist ward that cares for children with a variety of respiratory conditions from cystic fibrosis to complex asthma. Dr Wallis explained to the Mayor that many young patients’ respiratory conditions are exacerbated by pollution and poor air quality conditions.
To help address this, GOSH has introduced its own clean-air zone around the hospital encouraging staff, patients and families not to leave their car engines running, and to use low emission taxis and minicabs or walk or cycle wherever possible. As a result, low-emission patient and visitor travel between train stations and the hospital has increased from 63 per cent to 78 per cent, with a total of around 38,000 annual patient journeys making the shift.
Patient Fredi, nine, has cystic fibrosis and has been treated at GOSH since he was four months old. Fredi explained to the Mayor how cleaner air would help him: “I live in a small village, it’s much greener than here where it’s all pavements. Cleaner air will be better for my lungs and people will be able to breath better. You see lots of smoke from cars and motor bikes and lorries. You can see the smoke coming out of them. It will be good for the other children, then they won’t be so sick.”

The Mayor also met nine-year-old Scarlett who recently had lung surgery. Scarlett said: “It was good to meet the Mayor and it will be good to reduce pollution so people can breathe better.”

Dr Peter Steer, Chief Executive of GOSH, said: “The Mayor’s drive to clean up the capital’s air is fantastic news for our patients and staff. Children living in highly polluted areas are four times more likely to have reduced lung function in adulthood, yet improving air quality has been shown to halt and reverse this effect. When the UK’s most seriously ill children come to GOSH for our world class care, we want to ensure that they are not exposed to high levels of harmful pollution and so we are pleased improving London’s air quality is a priority for the Mayor.”
An animated video, produced by respiratory patients at GOSH to support the hospital’s own Clean Air initiative, explains why the project is so important to them.

If the video is not showing, please watch it on YouTube

More information concerning the Mayor’s clean air consultation can be found on the Mayor of London’s website.