Mayor of London joins patients as Play Street comes to GOSH

16 Jun 2022, 4 p.m.

Play Street

On Thursday 16 June, Sadiq Khan Mayor of London, visited our hospital when the street was transformed into a giant play area for Clean Air Day. 

The Mayor joined patients and local school children who enjoyed a range of activities on Play Street – including a rainbow race track, accessible bikes and the chance to dress up as a scientist, design a hospital robot and learn about research and innovation at GOSH.

In celebration of Clean Air Day, Great Ormond Street was closed for the afternoon and patients, families and the local community were invited down to enjoy the space usually reserved for cars and play in a healthier, safer environment.

During his visit the Mayor of London spoke to patients, parents and our staff about the importance of clean air on the health of children. He also learnt about GOSH’s air quality initiatives, and saw how the hospital street could look if permanently closed to traffic.

Alongside his visit, the Mayor published his response to the Government’s consultation on legal limits for air quality. He is encouraging the Government to speed up action on reducing excess air pollution to improve children’s health.

Rosamund Adoo Kissi Debrah at Play Street

Creating a greener future

Children should have the right to clean air, especially when they are coming to hospital.

The air pollution on Great Ormond Street is above WHO safe limits the majority of the time. Air pollution is linked to serious health conditions such as asthma, childhood cancer and greatly increases the risk of developing chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease later in life.

Events such as the Play Street are help envision a different future, one where the road could be a healthier, green space for families and the local community to enjoy.

We see every day the impact that the busy, polluted road on our front doorstep has on our patients, families and staff. Our doctors and nurses treat children with a range of severe respiratory conditions, but on their way into the hospital that is supposed to make them better, patients are exposed to filthy air which is exacerbating their illnesses. Children should be able to come to hospital, and play outside, without being exposed to air so polluted it's not considered safe.

Through Play Street we hope to show what could be possible if we transformed our street permanently into a safe place for their patients, staff and local community to enjoy, and inspire other hospitals across the country to do the same.

Matthew Shaw, CEO

Play Street is just one way GOSH is working towards a more sustainable future. In 2019 we launched the first ever Clean Air Hospital Framework with Global Action Plan – a strategy aimed at improving the air quality in and around hospitals. We were also the first London Hospital to declare a Climate and Health Emergency and strive to lower carbon emissions across the organisation.

Read more about our Clean Air Hospital Framework.

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