Town's GP surgery one of the worst polluted in the country
PUBLISHED: 06:30 11 February 2019 | UPDATED: 10:54 11 February 2019
Two-and-half million NHS patients across the region are registered at GP surgeries with unsafe levels of air pollution.
New figures from UK100, released today, reveal nearly 18 million patients nationwide are registered at surgeries exceeding the PM2.5 air pollution annual limit.
PM2.5 are minuscule particles invisible to the naked eye but small enough to pass through the lungs, and enter the bloodstream.
The limit is set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to ensure local authorities keep on top of potentially toxic atmospheres.
In the East of England, 39pc of patients are registered at surgeries in such conditions.
And Lowestoft boasts the third worst surgery in the UK in terms of air pollution.
Alexandra and Crestview Surgery, in Alexandra Road, serves 15,613 patients and has a PM2.5 level of 16.18.
The issue is widespread across Norfolk and Suffolk and in recent years calls have been made to curb the persistent problem.
Last year a Norwich man suffering from the lung condition Bronchiectasis began a campaign to rid the city centre of its cars. Matt White is hoping for a Car Free Norwich, but the city has been ranked the seventh worst area in the East of England.
Of the 110,074 patients, 62pc of them are registered at NHS surgeries exceeding the levels.
However, Ipswich is the most polluted area – with 100pc of its 177,392 living registered at surgeries exceeding the limit.
Dr Penny Woods, of the British Lung Foundation, branded the findings “unacceptable”.
She said: “It’s just not acceptable that nearly 18 million people are breathing unsafe levels of air pollution when seeking medical care from their GP.
“More must be done to keep them and health care staff safe; the World Health Organisation’s limit on particulate matter pollution should be included in the upcoming Environment Bill to ensure we meet it.”
UK 100 director Polly Billington added: “Some of the most vulnerable groups of people including young children and older people will walk to their GP, often to get help with respiratory conditions like asthma and bronchitis.
“This shows the real danger to their health of the air pollution in their communities. We need urgent action from the government.”