This year’s Active Travel Campaigner of the Year award has been presented to Dr Mark Hayden. Great Ormond Street Hospital paediatrician & Climate Doctors to COP26 rider.
Health professionals work unceasingly to care for the sick, especially during the pandemic. Dr Mark Hayden’s day job is in the paediatric cardiac unit of Great Ormond Street Hospital for children. But, as well as handling cardiac arrests, he also cares about the future of the children whom he looks after and the medical staff he works with:
“We are not caring for children if we do not protect the environment and try to minimise the detrimental impacts that climate change will have on children’s health around the world,” says Dr Hayden, the winner of LCC’s top external award at the 2021 AGM.
Mark champions action to address climate change, riding to COP 26 in Glasgow with fellow health workers, and he has spoken out on the damage caused by poor air quality and the urgent need to reduce road danger to cycle users and pedestrians.
In presenting the Active Travel Campaigner award to Dr Hayden, London Cycling Campaign said: “Dr Mark Hayden is one of the health sector’s most vocal and visible campaigners, urging the sector to be clearer and louder on the impacts of car use and active travel on our collective health, and on health workers. He spoke at the recent protest following the death of Dr Krawiec while cycling at Holborn, he urged trusts and colleagues to back LCC’s campaign on dangerous junctions, and he’s now leading a group of doctors and healthcare professionals cycling to COP26 in Glasgow.”
“My job isn’t just to deal with what is in front of my eyes at work. I didn’t do paediatrics to be that blinkered. My job is to do everything in my power to protect the planet for my patients,”said Mark, receiving the award.
When fellow children’s doctor, Dr Marta Krawiec was killed in Holborn in August, she wasn’t the first, or the second medical professional to die just travelling through London on her way to work. Cycle commuting is not uncommon amongst London’s healthworkers, and particularly in the pandemic a number of hospital doctors and other NHS staff started cycling. After the year that the medical profession had been through, the loss of a colleague in these terrible, unjust and avoidable circumstances triggered a massive response amongst a group that have been gradually getting louder in advocating for active travel in London.
Many in the NHS, in healthcare trusts and among medical professionals are raising their concerns about the climate crisis, about pollution, road danger, and inactivity. In this, LCC shares an agenda and approach with these vital keyworkers, and we’re in dialogue with these institutions – and increasingly helping them promote active travel and support community projects and cycle infrastructure. That is in no small part thanks to Dr Mark Hayden.
Healthworkers ready for Climate Doctors to COP26 London to Glasgow ride
Pollution pods at launch of ride to COP26