AMA’s President recently joined with DEA’s Sustainable Healthcare Special Interest Group to outline plans to improve healthcare environmental sustainability.
Dr Khorshid and DEA Convenor of the Sustainable Healthcare Special Interest Group Dr Eugenie Kayak presented to the Health Chief Executives Forum (HCEF) on 18 February 2022 on its joint call to improve healthcare environmental sustainability.
The HCEF, formerly known as the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council, consists of Federal, State, and Territory heads of health departments. The HCEF supports and advises the Health Ministers Meeting Forum (formerly the Health Council).
Dr Khorshid highlighted the health impacts of climate change and widespread and growing support for the healthcare sector to reduce its carbon footprint.
In March last year, the AMA and DEA called on the government to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2040 with an interim goal of 80% by 2030.
In 2014-15, Australia’s healthcare sector contributed 7% (37, 772 kilotonnes) of Australia’s total carbon emissions.
Dr Khorshid and Dr Kayak outlined the AMA’s and DEA’s proposal for a national Sustainable Healthcare Unit (nSHU) that would provide better coordination between governments, private and not-for-profit sectors, clear and accountable targets (including support and guidance to achieve them), and a commitment to behavioural change within the healthcare sector.
Dr Kayak used England’s National Health Service as an example of proof of concept for a nSHU, highlighting that they have been successful in reducing their emissions and water use, and has saved a significant £90 million in annual savings.
Dr Kayak also highlighted several co-benefits of improving environmental sustainability, including a more efficient and effective healthcare system, and a healthier population through reduced health impacts of climate change and a focus on preventative care.
The AMA and DEA will continue to work together to advocate for environmental sustainability in health care. The AMA’s position statement on environmental sustainability in health care is available here. Read more on the AMA website.