The impacts of the environment on health and healthcare should be part of the curriculum for all health professionals. The Sustainable Healthcare Education (SHE) network is a fast-growing group of clinicians, academics and students who have been developing teaching materials - you can find these via the Resources tab above. Join the SHE network to receive emails and post content - please register via the link on the right of this page.
October saw the launch of Facing the future: sustainability for Royal Colleges, and the first seminar for Royal Colleges to come together to share their progress on sustainability. The seminar, jointly led by the CSH and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, and kindly hosted by the Royal College of Anaesthetists, was packed full of an impressive array of initiatives being taken forward by some Colleges.
It was good to switch on Radio 4 last Thursday to hear a discussion on whether doctors have an “ethical duty” to prevent waste. The debate was prompted by the launch of a new report commissioned by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and co-authored by my colleague, Dr Daniel Maughan, RCPsych Sustainability Fellow 2013-15.
At first glance, you might think there is nothing new in suggesting that health professionals have a responsibility to reduce waste. But the truth is that the prevalent medical culture does not emphasise the role of clinicians in maximising value from resources.
We all know what it’s like, you feel you are bombarded with emails either requests to attend meetings, answer questions, reiterate information etc. and then there are the ones suggesting you may wish to attend events for your personal development or to improve your research involvement. What do we do…well mostly we delete however just occasionally one pops into that box that looks a little more interesting so you say to the team who is free who can go to this on our behalf and immediately wish you had kept quiet because it turns out you are the one with the gap in your diary.
On the 1st October we had the first sustainability summit run by a medical royal college in the UK. It was a great success!
Check out this interactive map that displays how different countries are both contributing to nd affected by climate change.
Daniel Maughan, the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Sustainability Fellow looks at the evidence of how climate change is impacting on mental health in the latest BMJ Blog coordinated by the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare. If you are interested in writing a blog on health and sustainability to go on the BMJ website, go to the BMJ Blog webpage on our website to find out what is required and to see past blogs.
Those within the Oxford AHSN area (Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Milton Keynes) have access to sustainability workshops and also the opportunity to develop expertise in sustainable healthcare by becoming a trained sustainability champion. If you would like to take part in a Measuring Carbon Workshop, join us at the George Pickering Education Centre, John Radcliffe Hospital, on either Wednesday 24th September or Wednesday 8th October.
I'm writing this post to alert CSH members to this motion (#370) which is on the agenda of the British Medical Association's Annual Representatives' Meeting tomorrow morning, on climate advocacy and divestment from fossil fuel companies. The BMA will be voting on whether or not to divest from the world's major fossil fuel companies. Myself and a couple of others have drafted this 2-page briefing document, and it would be fantastic if you could share it with anyone you know who'll be voting at the meeting.
Should the BMA commit to divestment, this would help set a valuable precedent for other groups, building on the momentum created by the Fossil Free campaign internationally. A 'yes' vote would make the BMA the first ever national medical or nursing organ isation to divest from fossil fuels!
For those on twitter, please take a few minutes to tweet before 11am if tomorrow, using the #ARMlive hashtag and the URL for the briefing (http://tinyurl.com/divestmentbriefing). Below are some example tweets to save you time - though feel free to come up with your own of course!
- Fingers crossed that @TheBMA members will vote to #divest from fossil fuels & tackle #climate change!http://tinyurl.com/divestmentbriefing #ARMlive
- Calling voting members @TheBMA #ARMlive, please vote for a healthier, low CO2 future! Briefing (for motion 370): http://tinyurl.com/divestmentbriefing
- #ARMlive members: agree that @TheBMA's investments shouldn't worsen #climatechange & #pollution? Please support M370! http://tinyurl.com/divestmentbriefing
The briefing document summarises the various arguments - both health-focused and financial - in favour of such a move, as well as giving some wider context (an argument made succinctly by Bill McKibben here, and in Alistair Wardrope's recent blog on the topic for Healthy Planet UK).
Please do get in touch if you're interested in starting up discussions about divestment within organisations you're involved in, such as Royal Colleges or even NHS Trusts, it would be great to hear from you.
The winners of last year's new Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition to find innovative technology based solutions in Kidney Care have been announced on 13th May 2014.
The £3.6 m SBRI funding competition was launched last October by the Department of Health and the National Institute for Health Research Devices for Dignity Healthcare Technology Co-operative (NIHR D4D HTC) to help the 5,000 people diagnosed with kidney failure every year. There are currently 41,000 patients in England receiving treatment for kidney failure.