Climate change is first and foremost a health issue and is a major concern for the health sector.
DEA joined leading health organisations at the Climate and Health Alliance Health Leaders Roundtable as part of the Better Futures Forum on 6-7 September to discuss climate change impacts and solutions.
Dr Eugenie Kayak, Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) Convenor of the Sustainable Healthcare Special Interest Group and Enterprise Professor in Sustainable Healthcare in the Department of Critical Care at Melbourne Medical School, presented the AMA/DEA proposal to establish a national Sustainable Healthcare Unit.
This unit would support environmentally sustainable healthcare and reduce the sector’s own sizeable emissions which contribute approximately 7 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.
DEA is pleased to sign on to joint statement produced at the BFF Roundtable.
This calls on the government to take the following steps as an immediate priority toward the development of the National Strategy:
- Establish a Ministerial Forum of state, territory and Commonwealth ministers, to ensure coordination across Health, Climate, and other relevant portfolios;
- Undertake a national health vulnerability and capacity assessment to identify and monitor those populations and areas most susceptible to climate-health impacts. Improve coordination and investment in national disaster preparedness;
- Invest in an evaluation of the health and economic impacts of climate change, and the health and economic benefits of climate policies;
- Conduct a scoping exercise to map existing climate and health initiatives across Ministries and jurisdictions, identify synergies, and develop further policy options and investments;
- Establish a Sustainable Healthcare Unit in the Commonwealth Department of Health to guide the health sector towards environmentally sustainable and low carbon operations and support state and territory health jurisdictions to decarbonise.
Image: Medical student, Sanchita Gera