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Senior doctors urge action on climate change

29 November 2018


Two senior health professionals are urging colleagues and the wider health sector to take a lead in the fight against climate change.

Counties Manukau District Health Board intensivist Dr David Galler and CMDHB anaesthetist Dr Rob Burrell gave a presentation today at the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) annual conference in Wellington.

“If the health care sector is to play its part helping the nation become net carbon neutral by 2050, we need policy changes to ensure that our major purchaser of medicines and devices, Pharmac, direct its considerable expertise and muscle to include carbon and life-cycle costs in purchasing decisions,” Dr Galler says.

Dr Galler and Dr Burrell were part of a group at Middlemore Hospital that reduced the hospital’s carbon footprint by more than 21% over five years.

The pair argue environmental concerns, the long term costs and opportunities for savings across multiple domains are not adequately factored in when DHBs make decisions pertaining to hospital builds, food contracting, and other major expenditure.

They point to specific ways doctors can contribute by switching to pharmaceutical products that are kinder to the environment and many other interventions which would improve value

Dr Galler argues senior health professionals should be encouraged to advocate for climate change action by recognising it in professional development provisions agreed with DHBs.

ENDS

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