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Health & Wellbeing

It’s Breathe Easy Week as Council suggest ways to improve air quality

As part of Breathe Easy Week (17-21 June) West Sussex County Council is asking us to make positive changes to our lifestyles in order to improve air quality where we live and work.

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These include:

• Walking and cycling for short journeys;
• Gently braking and accelerating smoothly when driving;
• Considering switching to electric vehicles;
• Composting organic waste instead of burning it.

The county council is committed to improving air quality and is a long standing member of the Sussex-air Partnership, which offers a free airAlert service.

Sussex airAlert sends you messages – either by text, voice mail or email – when air pollution levels in your area increase to moderate levels or above. Find out more at www.airalert.info.

Deborah Urquhart, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, said:

“It is often difficult to appreciate the importance of air quality as it can’t be seen.

“Through the choices we make about how we travel and how we heat our homes, we can all make a positive difference to improving the air quality in our county.

“Walking and cycling on short journeys will cut pollution, and there is the added bonus of getting exercise which is good for your physical and mental health.

“Improving air quality is a priority for the County Council – but we can’t do it without the help of our residents.”

Breathe Easy Week is a national initiative and follows the launch of the county council’s major new ‘West Sussex Climate Pledge’ online campaign earlier this month.

The Climate Pledge campaign asks West Sussex residents to make small but positive changes to their everyday lives. Visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/maketheclimatepledge to find out more and make your pledge.

Breathe Easy Week coincides with this year’s Clean Air Day on Thursday (June 20). For more information on Clean Air Day, visit www.cleanairday.org.uk.

Community

Local volunteers drive GPs to essential home visits in Crawley

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Image: Dr Phoebe Danes and volunteer Chris Ball.

Local volunteers have stepped up to help drive clinicians to home visits during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The initiative was launched by local GP federation Alliance for Better Care, who have rented black cabs to provide essential transport for clinicians attending patients’ homes. 

The taxis, which have been adapted to make them easier to clean, are driven by volunteer drivers who have come forward via various community Facebook groups.

Thanks to the layout of the cab, drivers are completely separated from the clinician who is also afforded extra space in the cab to put on PPE and write up notes. 

Matt Cullis, practice manager at Leacroft Medical Practice said:

“Our surgery is still open to treat patients, however, home visits have become particularly important for those who are shielding and not wanting to leave their homes. This service saves us time and allows our doctors to travel to appointments in an environment that can be easily cleaned and has room to put on PPE.”

Alliance for Better Care is the GP federation for Crawley, Horsham, Mid-Sussex and East Surrey and so far the project has been rolled out at Leacroft Surgery in Crawley and throughout Burgess Hill, with plans to extend it to East Grinstead and Horley in the coming weeks.

Katherine Saunders, ABC chief executive said:

“We have been overwhelmed with the number of volunteers who have come forward and we’d like to thank them all for offering to support this service. We are, of course, committed to protecting both our volunteers and our clinicians. We insure drivers and carry out all necessary checks while also providing PPE. This is a valuable resource for our clinicians, and increases our capacity to reach more patients.”

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