Doctors should think less about the health of their patients and more about the health of the planet, an editorial in the BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) has urged.
The editorial, published as part of a special edition dedicated to the forthcoming COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, says that medical treatment contributes significantly to “greenhouse gas emissions” and that this carbon footprint can be reduced if only “health professionals” can learn to reduce “overdiagnosis” and “overtreatment”.
Healthcare contributes 4-5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. In the NHS, 62 per cent of these emissions are from its supply chains and 24 per cent from delivery of care. Health professionals can be institutional leaders who drive decarbonisation in hospitals through reducing overdiagnosis