Making connections to improve climate resilience for health

Ben Whittaker
Ben Whittaker • 29 November 2023

Project completed as part of the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board (CTM UHB) and Centre for Sustainable Healthcare Intensive Sustainable Innovation Group Scholar Programme

Climate change impacts population health, but also healthcare’s ability to provide effective health services to their population. Health adaptation is the deliberate action taken to protect population health and well-being in response to the stress posed by climate change. The effectiveness of health adaptation depends upon the climate resilience of healthcare, defined as health services capacity to anticipate, respond to, cope with, recover from, and adapt to climate related shocks and stresses whilst continuing to maintain ongoing improvement in population health and well-being.

CTM UHB has specific vulnerability and opportunity to improve resilience to climate change based on the demographics of the population: including high levels of social deprivation and being a key anchor institution with the majority of our workforce living within the health board area.

This project aimed to raise awareness of the need for health adaptation within CTM UHB, with the aim of generating key considerations and recommendations for the health board to improve climate resilience for health.

Reaching out to those with an interest in health adaptation within the health board, meeting with health board Green Group and public health colleagues, gathering ideas and input from them. Scoping what work was already going on within the health board that was relevant to improving climate resilience, such as the health board’s Anchor Institution Plan.  Making connections with informal and more formal networks across Wales and beyond.  Becoming a member of Wales’ National Health Adaptation Steering Group and signposting CTM UHB to Health Care Without Harm’s Scaling Network for Healthcare Climate Resilience.


The key outcome was a board paper presented to the Executive team with findings and recommendations foundational for the health board developing their own health adaptation strategy.  Value and action learning were generated from the process of doing the sustainability scholarship over the last six months, from shared learning, raising awareness and building key strategic partnerships. The project has meant bringing people together within health board that have an interest in the topic, as-well as making sure the health board is better connected with national work on adaptation planning and part of scaling networks of good practice across Europe.  This has the potential to set ground for future work on adaptation within the health board and improving healthcare climate resilience.

The figure below shows some of the learning happening around the Strengths Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to adaptation within Wales, that was reported to National Adaptation Steering Group.

Full case study report includes more information about results/impact, next steps and learning points.

Resource author(s)
Downs, T. and Hobson, G.
Resource publishing organisation(s) or journal
Centre for Sustainable Healthcare
Resource publication date
March 2023

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