05 June 2022

RACGP promotes environmental sustainability in general practice

On World Environment Day the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is promoting environmental sustainability in general practice.

The college has released an innovative resource to inform and support GPs and general practice teams to reduce their environmental footprint and fight climate change. The resource is part of the RACGP general practice business tool kit, and can be used by practices in all corners of Australia to become a more environmentally sustainable practice as well as identify, reduce and manage the adverse health effects of climate change.

RACGP President Adj. Professor Karen Price said that the resource would be a useful tool for many practices.

“I urge all GPs and general practice teams to access this resource, which should make the target of improving environmental sustainability that little bit easier,” she said.

“It includes vital information that can help busy practices across Australia. For example, GPs and general practice teams are encouraged to reduce energy consumption and review paper usage. Practices can also consider e-waste, the term given to discarded electrical and electronic technologies, as well as maximising recycling efforts.”

The RACGP President said that GPs and general practice teams have an important role to play on climate change and environmental policy.

“I fully appreciate that GPs and general practice teams already have a lot on their plate; however, we also have an important responsibility when it comes to climate change,” she said.

“The resource outlines how GPs are well placed to effectively communicate the health risks of climate change to their patients, the public and policymakers. Through leading by example and strong advocacy, GPs and general practice teams can promote healthy, sustainable living and reduce carbon emissions. Advocacy is also needed for adaptation to climate change, including healthcare support for the physical and mental effects as well as mitigation through government policies to reduce emissions.

“I believe GPs and general practice teams can, in the right settings and circumstances, promote urgent action to mitigate climate change. After all, in communities nation-wide - we are a voice that people listen to and respect.

“The recent federal election saw several high-profile healthcare professionals, including GP and now independent member for Mackellar Dr Sophie Scamps, throw their hand up and win the support of voters. GPs are ranked in the top five most ethical occupations because our patients know us and trust us.

“It's great news that Dr Sophie Scamps hopes to translate the trust placed in doctors during the pandemic into real action in Canberra, particularly on climate change. The RACGP recognises climate change as a public health emergency and welcomes voices like hers in our national Parliament.”

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