In response to the call in the BMJ for the health profession to act now on the climate emergency, Professor Dame Parveen Kumar, BMA board of science chair, said:
“The climate emergency is a health emergency and at the BMA, we are determined to do all we can to reduce our impact on the environment, encouraging all healthcare professionals and wider society to do the same. We’re also committed to holding the NHS to account in terms of proposed climate change targets, and supporting doctors to do the same.
“We are a founding member of the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change and we would like to see the health service reach net-zero emissions in as short a time as possible.
“The BMA has taken steps to ensure that we are reducing our own carbon emissions, having switched to a renewable energy supplier and taking the decision to divest in fossil fuel. We are continuously looking for ways to reduce our own carbon footprint and at our recent annual representative meeting we agreed to incorporate a ‘green audit’ of our policies to ensure they align with our vision for a greener NHS.
“Within the wider medical sphere, we have previously called for UK governments to introduce a number of measures to help reduce the carbon footprint of the health service. This includes calling for the Government to introduce a Clean Fleets Fund to help move the NHS fleet away from petrol and diesel vehicles, calling for Trusts and health boards to reduce plastic waste in their hospitals, and highlighting the need for improved waste management practices across the NHS estate. We also endorse the Green Impact initiative, encouraging general practice to be more sustainable in areas such as prescribing while ensuring practice premises are as low impact as possible.
“Everyone in society has a role to play to influence change and a sense of urgency is crucial before we run out of time.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.