Over the past few weeks, we have started to make changes here at Audley Health Centre in order to make the practise more environmentally friendly. The NHS accounts for approximately 5.4% of the UKs carbon emissions annually – this is the same amount as all the flights that leave Heathrow airport each year. Primary care health centres play a major role in this statistic, with GP prescribing being one of the largest contributors to the NHS’ carbon emissions, second only to anaesthetic usage in hospitals. This means there is plenty of room for improvement! One area of GP services that has a substantially negative environmental impact is metered dose inhaler (MDI) prescribing, which are the most prescribed inhalers in the UK. MDI’s main ingredient is hydrofluorocarbon gas, which has over 1000 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, with one Ventolin inhaler having the same carbon footprint as driving from London to Sheffield, which is nearly 200 miles!!!
This is why we have decided to sign up to the Green Impact Scheme, accredited by the RCGP, as we hope to make changes within the practise that will reduce our environmental impact. By taking part in the green impact scheme, we aim to implement the interventions most suitable and upload evidence to the dedicated website which would add up to eventually provide a bronze, silver or gold award for sustainability, accredited by the RCGP. As we work towards these awards, we hope to include and encourage our patients to take part by offering medication reviews for asthma patients to trial different, less carbon-intense inhalers amongst other things. We will be posting updates as to how the scheme is going on our Facebook page.