The government has been urged to pay greater attention to the role the health service can play in tackling climate change.

The NHS Confederation has reiterated the need for a health expert on the government's committee on climate change.

The calls came after last week's draft Climate Change Bill joint committee report made no specific mention of the role of the health service in meeting the proposed target to cut carbon output by 60 per cent by 2050.

The confederation had written to committee chair Lord Puttnam in June, outlining its vision for the role of a health expert.

Confederation chief executive Dr Gill Morgan said: 'We would urge the government to take up the NHS Confederation's recommendation to include a health expert in the proposed committee on climate change; given that this is such an important challenge for the NHS.'

'We are disappointed that the committee has not picked up on our recommendations at this time,' added a spokeswoman.

A recent confederation report, Taking the Temperature, revealed the NHS produces around 1 million tonnes of carbon a year. It would have to cut its net emissions by at least 600,000 tonnes to meet the government's target.

Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Robin Webster said: 'Climate change could have significant implications for healthcare, so it's vital that the government ensures the climate change committee takes it into account.'

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