Air quality monitoring units will be installed in Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals, both of which are in areas breaking air quality targets.
The scheme, announced by Mayor Sadiq Khan yesterday, will see the monitors installed at ten hospitals in London’s most polluted areas.
Poor-quality air can already stunt lung growth and has been linked to increased rates of dementia, cancer and asthma.
Vulnerable hospital patients are even more susceptible to the harmful effects of pollution.
The move comes after Great Ormond Street Hospital, the specialist children’s hospital, unveiled a clean air ‘framework’ to protect patients from pollution.
A spokesperson for the Guy’s and St Thomas’s NHS, the management body for the two hospitals, said the monitors would come in useful to inform patients about high pollution levels.
“As a cause of asthma and lung disease, air pollution is a real issue that impacts our patients and local communities so we support the Mayor of London’s campaign to improve the capital’s air,” a spokesperson told the News.
“We’ll be able to use the real-time data from the air quality monitors to inform our patients, visitors and staff when pollution levels are high.”
Dr Penny Woods, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation, said air pollution was a “public health emergency” which was affecting children and the elderly.
“It can cause lung cancer, respiratory and heart disease and stunt the growth of children’s little lungs,” she warned.
“So it’s not right patients – especially children, the elderly and those with heart and lung problems – are exposed to dirty air that may make their symptoms worse when going to hospital.”
According to research by King’s College London, Guy’s Hospital had annual nitrogen dioxide levels of 49ug/m3, above the 40ug/m3 target in 2017.
Earlier this week, new backpacks were unveiled at the Charlotte Sharman primary school in Elephant and Castle which contained air quality monitoring units.
The novel approach aimed to collect data about pollution levels during a typical school day to better understand ways of combating the problem.