Aspen Medical Centre are pleased to announce that we have joined over 70 practices nationally in working towards improving our environmental sustainability.
As a practice we feel we can no longer ignore the wider impact of climate change on the health of the population we serve, or the role that healthcare provision plays in contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.
Did you know for example that the NHS contributes to 39% of the public sector emissions of England? Put another way, if the NHS were a country it would generate a carbon footprint greater than the sum of the 50 lowest emitting countries on the planet. Or that one 100 dose inhaler (used for Asthma and COPD) has the carbon footprint of driving from London to Sheffield? The good news is that this means there is a lot that can be done to try and improve things.
We hope to achieve this by following the advice of a collaborative project called Green Impact for Health that seeks to find meaningful ways that practices can make changes to their practice. Although there are over 20 specific measures to achieve the first level rating (Bronze), they can roughly be divided in to five areas:
- Use and disposal of paper
- Management of medication (recycling inhalers and – where possible – moving to more environmentally friendly ones, addressing excess medication)
- Energy use (both reducing demand, and thinking about where the energy comes from in terms of supply)
- Empowering patients to self-care for more conditions through use of social prescribing/treatment escalation plans and personal management plans for chronic conditions.
- Efficient waste disposal.
We are excited to be part of this new initiative, and hope that you agree it is a worthwhile endeavour. If you have any questions about this, or ideas of your own for how we could improve, then please let us know.