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Health professionals must help tackle climate change

ial suggests that, if medicine is about saving lives, then working to alter patterns of behaviour that contribute to climate change could arguably become a priority for clinicians - as an urgent preventative measure. Likewise, institutions of health care in particular the NHS have enormous power to do good or harm to the natural environment and to increase or diminish carbon emissions.

The author, Anna Coote, describes some examples of good practice, but points out that these depend on highly committed individuals innovating against the odds. Incentives in the NHS run in the opposite direction and no-one gets fired for failing to reduce the carbon footprint of a hospital or clinic.

By 2010, 11 billion will be spent on new hospitals that are largely unsustainable. And so, in the name of 'healthcare,' gargantuan sums of public money continue to be spent in ways that are careless of the physical and mental wellbeing of future generations, she writes.

However, without action, "we will be knowingly handing over a dying planet to the next generation," concludes Dr Hillman.


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Contact: Emma Dickinson
edickinson@bmj.com
44-020-738-36529
BMJ-British Medical Journal
8-Jun-2006


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