PROBLEMS with the health of animals, humans and the environment are often closely related – and vets are calling for a 'One Health' approach to policy-making that recognises the value of equally cross-disciplinary solutions to those problems.

The One Health in Action report, newly published by the British Veterinary Association, has compiled ‘real world’ case studies of when professionals from across the UK veterinary and medical professions, animal welfare and environmental sector have worked together to tackle important issues such as climate change, mental health and wellness and antimicrobial resistance.

It includes contributions from national organisations such as The Wildlife Trust, Animal and Plant Health Agency, Veterinary Medicines Directorate, Royal College of Nursing, the National Trust, RSPCA, PDSA and even the British Dental Association.

The 'One Health' principle is that the health and wellbeing of people, animals and the environment are interconnected and that tackling global issues as complex and varied as mental health, antimicrobial resistance, zoonotic disease and climate change requires collaborative working from experts coming from varied professional fields.

One of the first examples of UK One Health in action is the ‘nature prescribing’ initiative. Featured in the ‘mental health and wellbeing’ chapter, the case study is supplied by The Wildlife Trusts and details their recent partnership with the Lancashire Wildlife Trust and NHS Lancashire Care, to improve the general wellbeing and mental health of young people in East Lancashire through ‘ecotherapy’, developing their understanding of wildlife and ecosystems and having a positive impact on the local environment.

BVA senior vice president, Simon Doherty said: “One Health is an area that the veterinary profession has long been engaged with and I am very proud to present the BVA’s One Health in action report which draws on the combined experience of UK vets, medics and experts from the environmental sector to help showcase One Health to a wider audience.

“There are ongoing global concerns around the availability of food systems, environmental damage, rising rates of mental health issues, antimicrobial resistance, ecosystem health, transboundary diseases and climate change. In order to tackle these, the need for joint working and information sharing is greater than ever.

“Unsurprisingly ‘health’ goes beyond the absence of disease in humans and can include animal health and welfare and a healthy, biodiverse environment. By working together with the medical profession, environmental organisations and others, we can bring all of our areas of expertise into one arena to make a real difference to the world we live in," said Mr Doherty. “This report is just the beginning. We hope to see awareness to the One Health Agenda grow and for more organisations and individuals to get involved.”