GPs keen to cut carbon footprint

Nearly half of GPs want to go green by installing solar panels in their practice and one in three wants a wind turbine.

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A quarter want to set up a carbon offsetting policy for their practice, which could involve investment in development of alternative energy sources such as solar power.

More than half want their practice to install energy-efficient lighting and heating, and almost two thirds want their practice to have good insulation.

The findings are from a GP survey to launch our new Green GP series on environmentally friendly policies for general practice. It found that most

GPs currently have little faith in their practices' green credentials.

More than 30 per cent say their practice is ‘not at all green', and 43 per cent say their practice is 'slightly green'.

The most common green feature in GP practices was double glazing, which 73 per cent of respondents reported.

More than a third of practices had energy-efficient lighting and a quarter had energy-efficient heating, while good insulation and ‘switch off' policies for IT and electrical equipment were common. None reported an existing carbon offsetting policy.

The Chiddenbrook Surgery in Crediton, Devon is built into a hillside, helping to cut heating costs. Practice manager Richard Ward said: ‘We are looking at ways of greening the practice.'

He said the practice would consider a carbon-offsetting plan, try to source equipment locally and work on making lighting and heating efficient.

New-build practices are also incorporating green features. A practice in Sawston, Cambridgeshire has solar panels and geothermal heating, and harvests rainwater to flush its toilets.

Meanwhile, Professor Ian Roberts of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine wrote in last week's BMJ that it is ironic that doctors committed to preventing harm are contributing to global warming.

  • 73.1% have double glazing
  • 50% have a recyclying policy
  • 44.9% want solar panels
  • 32.6% want wind turbines
  • 0.7% say they are 'very green'
  • 31% are 'not green at all'

Source: GP survey

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