Sustainable Primary Care

Primary care is a huge contributor to the overall NHS carbon footprint, with the largest emissions coming from pharmaceuticals, followed by patient and staff travel. Those working in General Practice are trusted sources of information, educators, community members and run responsible small businesses. Sustainable changes often have huge co-benefits for patients and staff.  Primary care staff have the power to reduce their practice's environmental footprint whilst improving care quality. In this short 3-part course we offer an overview of the development of sustainable healthcare, share case studies of good practice, and provide tips and tricks for greening your practice.

  • Workshop: Tuesday 25 January (Tue) 13.00-17.00
    • Self-study period opens: 4 January (Tue)

 £165 + VAT | Book here

Book a course with peace of mind: We realise that healthcare workers may have to change their plans at short notice. If you are unable to attend a workshop, we can offer you a workshop at a later date for no charge. We can also offer a refund as long as you cancel before the course opens for self-study, which is 3 weeks before the workshop. There will be an admin fee of £30 for refunds.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course you will be able to:

  1. Describe the effects of the global environmental crisis on human health and contribution of the health sector to environmental degradation 
  2. Bring sustainable methods of practice into the consultation to create greener patient centered care 
  3. Identify primary care hotspots, improve carbon literacy and find opportunities to embed environmental measures into clinical care and education
  4. Implement sustainable practices in clinical care and facilities management

Learning Path

Part I.  Self-study online

You will need about 4-6 hours to go through this round-up of theory and practice.  A discussion forum allows you to meet fellow participants and get to know each other's areas of interest and work.  At the end of the module, you are invited to sketch out a plan of work that you might want to undertake, in preparation for the workshop discussions.

Part II.  Live workshop online

The 4 hour virtual workshop consolidates your understanding of the course materials. Small group discussions with CSH experts and colleagues from around the world allow further exploration of topics that interest you and tips on how to translate your ideas into action.   The timetable includes pre-session technical assistance and networking, followed by a review of the self-study material with Q&A.  In breakout groups you will then share your ideas for a sustainability intervention in your setting and make plans to address it, using the range of resources, tools and methods developed by CSH and partners.

Part III: Work-in-Progress

We offer the opportunity to meet again as a group a month or so after the Workshop for a two-hour session to discuss how projects have progressed. You are invited to present what you've done so far, answer questions and take feedback from colleagues and facilitators. 


This course could not have been written and designed without the support of the Royal College of General Practitioners Climate Emergency Advisory Group (RCGP CEAG) and Greener Practice network. Thanks to Dr Tamsin Ellis for coordinating and designing the course.  A huge thanks to those that have contributed and reviewed the course material: 

Course Authors: Dr Tamsin Ellis (GP; NE London RCGP climate and sustainability lead; Chair Greener Practice London), Dr Georgie Sowman (GP; physical health champion for NE London; Co-founder NHS Ocean), Dr Mike Thompson (GP; medical educator), Dr Aarti Bansal (GP; Founder, Greener Practice), Dr Vasandhara Thoroughgood (GP Colchester; RCGP Essex Climate Emergency & Sustainability Lead), Dr Matthew Sawyer (GP; Director, See Sustainability), Dr Rumina Önaç (GP; RCGP Yorkshire Faculty Sustainability Lead), Dr Terry Kemple (RCGP National Representative for Sustainability, Climate Change and Green Issues; Lead, Green Impact for Health Toolkit; UK Health Alliance for Climate Change), Dr Jen Young (GP trainee; CSH intern 2021), and Costas Visiliou (Clinical pharmacist).

Course Contributors: Dr SanYuMay Tun (GP; medical educator), Dr James Smith (GP; Asst Director of Public Health Studies, University of Cambridge), Karen Creffield (Practice Manager, Frome Medical Practice), Dr Shireen Kassam (Consultant Haematologist; Lifestyle Medicine Physician; Director, Plant-Based Health Professionals UK), Dr Honey Smith (GP; Chair Greener Practice), Dr Joe Barron-Snowdon (Junior doctor, Bath), Alexis Percival (Environment and Sustainability Manager, Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust), Dr Richard Hixson (Consultant in Anaesthesia and Critical Care County Durham and Darlington NHS; Co-founder of NHS Ocean; CSH Trustee), Salih Hassan (Lead Acute Admissions and Respiratory Pharmacist, North Middlesex Hospital), Dr Liliana Risi (GP; Provost RCGP North East London Faculty), Toby Capstick (Consultant Pharmacist, Respiratory Medicine, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust), Dr Emma Radcliffe (GP Tower Hamlets), Dr Mark Tyrrell (GP, Senior Partner Crondall New Surgery, Green GP Environmental Champion), and Kiana Mostaghimi (medical student)


Tamsin Ellis

Tamsin is a GP in London who designed the CSH Sustainable Primary Care course. She is a North East London RCGP faculty lead for climate and health and sustainability scholar, and currently undertaking a leadership fellowship with a sustainability focus in London. She also chairs the Greener Practice London group and is interested in the crossover of sustainable primary care with improving health equity. You can hear more about her work here: or on Twitter @Climate_GP

James Sziemakewicz

James is a GP in North Devon who has worked in healthcare commissioning for several years. He brings extensive experience in partnership working with roles including current Chair of Devon Nature Partnership and Chair of the North Devon GP Collaborative Board. He believes there is an urgency with which we need, as a society, to transition to true sustainability and to deliver this will require system change. His focus is on delivering effective change through a collaborative, cross sector approach.

Matt SawyerDr Matt Sawyer

 Matt has been a GP in the North East of England for about 15 years. He works as a front-line GP two days a week and spends the rest of the week running the consultancy SEE Sustainability to improve planetary and human health. He helps primary care practices understand their carbon emissions footprint and work towards net zero. He has a BSc in Environmental Science and MSc in Corporate Sustainability and Environmental Management.

Dr. Aarti Bansal

Dr. Aarti Bansal is a GP in Sheffield, a medical educator and the founder of Greener Practice. She  contributed to the development of a planetary health curriculum for GP registrars and her curricular innovations in medical education have been highlighted as examples of good practice by the GMC. She is currently undertaking an NIHR research fellowship at Hull York Medical School on how medical education can be optimised for the development of person-centredness.  In 2017, she was appointed RCGP SYNT Faculty’s first Climate & Sustainability Lead, helped to write the climate emergency motion passed by the RCGP council in September 2019 and co-chairs the RCGP Climate Emergency Advisory Group. In September 2020 she was elected to the RCGP College Council.

heyley bioDr Hayley Pinto

Hayley was a lead consultant addiction psychiatrist with nearly 30 yrs experience in the NHS and publicly funded services.  She is a medical educator, and currently senior honorary lecturer at the University of East Anglia, and has been involved in climate education, outreach, and activism for several years. Hayley also has a degree in psychology and completed general practice training before pursuing a career in psychiatry.