Dr Smith is currently chair of the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change. In the interview, he called climate change ‘the defining issue of our age’ and said that the alliance was doing everything it could to mitigate the effects of climate change.
The UK Health Alliance on Climate Change represents more than 1m healthcare professionals and has campaigned for ensuring that the NHS ‘net zero’ commitment was embedded into the 2022 Health and Care Act and supporting Transport for London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone programme. It also works with more than 40 organisations to help them achieve net-zero goals, including the RCGP.
According to Dr Smith, while there are things GPs can do at an individual level to address climate change, such as drive less or eat less meat, the biggest contributor to the NHS carbon footprint is procurement.
He told the podcast: ‘When you look at the carbon footprint of NHS England, about three quarters of it is procurement.’
He said the NHS’s ‘considerable purchasing power’ could be used to encourage companies to do something about climate change. ‘You can go to a company and say that we have a commitment to get to net zero on all we directly control by 2040, including what we procure by 2045. So, you've got to work with us.’
As well as the interview with Dr Richard Smith, the podcast episode features a discussion on the latest NICE guidelines on chronic kidney disease and a review of what GPs need to know about scarlet fever. The episode, as with all episodes from the Clinical Update podcast, is available here.
MIMS Learning provides CPD for healthcare professionals and covers a wide range of modules, including those focused on meeting the educational needs of GPs.