GP practices can reduce impact on environment

AUSTRALIA’s health system is a major polluter and can itself play a role in the fight against climate change, a doctors’ conference has been told.

Melbourne anaesthetist and green doctor campaigner Dr Eugenie Kayak told the recent iDEA 2011 conference that Australia had one of the highest polluting health systems in the world and urged all doctors, including GPs, to consider the impact of their work.

While hospitals were the biggest health polluters, she said – taking 60% of Victorian Government energy and 53% of NSW Government energy – GPs’ efforts to minimise waste could still have a significant impact.

Even solo practitioners separating waste between “clinical, general and sharps” and thinking before using non-essential disposable equipment could make a difference, she said.

“Improving the environmental footprint of all sectors of healthcare, including hospitals and private practice, is