Why Environmentally Sustainable Practice?
Climate Change and Health
The Climate Emergency is a Health Emergency, climate change underpins all the social and environmental determinants of health. Healthcare is both affected by the climate emergency and contributes to exacerbating it. The Lancet states the response to climate change is “the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century.” If you want to find out more, check out the BMJ’s resources on the subject.
Action on the climate emergency:
- has huge benefits for patient health now e.g. increasing active travel and improvement in air quality
- will be beneficial for populations e.g. increased physical activity, sustainable diets, improved access to nature and green prescribing will all have mental and physical health benefits
- reduces health inequalities – the climate crisis disproportionately affects the poorest in society
- protects future health – e.g. through mitigating both the physical health and the mental health effects of extreme weather events, heat stress, vector-borne disease, food shortage, air and water quality
- can improve workload and costs through through improved patient health, reduced prescribing/procurement costs, reduced energy use
What has the NHS got to do with the climate crisis?
The NHS contributes 4-5% of the UK’s carbon emissions (for comparison 5.9% of our carbon footprint relates to air travel).
Primary care carbon footprint
Prescribing is by far the largest carbon footprint in primary care. See more in the prescribing section.