Sustainable Healthcare News March 2022

Here is your latest wrap of sustainable healthcare news. We hope the information below provides assistance, guidance and inspiration. Please forward this newsletter to others in your networks who are interested in climate-resilient and sustainable healthcare.

In this issue:

  • GGHH news
  • Sustainable healthcare news
  • Events
  • Reports, resources and research
  • Advocacy

News on the Global Green & Healthy Hospital Network

Welcome to new members!

We’re delighted to welcome the following health institutions as members of the Global Green & Healthy Hospital (GGHH) network:

  • Herston Private Hospital
  • Western Australia Department of Health

The GGHH Pacific network now has 118 members! Together, we represent 2,180+ hospitals and health services. It’s wonderful to see more health institutions committed to tackling their environmental footprint. If you’d like to join the network, find more on the website or email [email protected]

2020-21 Annual Report for the GGHH Pacific Region

The 2020-21 GGHH Pacific Region Annual Report has just been published. The report demonstrates the scale of the network in our region, summarises the resources and support available to members, and highlights achievements of the network and its members. Read the report.

Congratulations to our 2021 Health Care Climate Champions

Eight GGHH Pacific members have been internationally recognised in the Health Care Climate Champion awards for their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve climate resilience and / or demonstrate climate leadership:

  • Ambulance Victoria
  • Auckland District Health Board
  • Counties Manukau District Health Board
  • Hunter New England Local Health District
  • Mater Misericordiae Limited
  • Northland District Health Board
  • Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service
  • UnitingCare Queensland

Congratulations to all involved! Read more about the awards.

South Metropolitan Health Service signs Health Care Climate Challenge Pledge

Congratulations to the South Metropolitan Health Service, the first health institution in WA to join the Health Care Climate Challenge. Joining the challenge demonstrates SMHS’ commitment to reduce emissions, prepare for climate impacts and be climate leaders.

Joining the challenge puts participants in the running to win in the annual Healthcare Climate Awards, as described above. Join the challenge.

Case study | Greening Hospitals Hackathon

This case study outlines how AMSA Code Green ran a ‘Greening Hospitals Hackathon’. Multidisciplinary teams of 4-6 students developed solutions to make healthcare more sustainable, with guidance from experts and masterclasses. AMSA Code Green then worked with the winning teams to support further development of their idea and its ultimate implementation. Amazing! Read the case study.

Case study | Reducing waste in the Fiona Stanley Hospital Emergency Department

The Fiona Stanley Hospital Emergency Department produces enormous amounts of waste, but staff operate under considerable time constraints, making engagement on waste reduction initiatives a challenge. Some staff revamped an environmental sustainability group called Eco WarriERs. The group focuses on implementing recycling initiatives in the ED whilst also delivering education to their colleagues to reduce wasteful practices. Read the case study.

Summary report | Greening the Healthcare Sector Forum 2021

Last November, 300+ people participated in our annual Greening the Healthcare Sector Forum. It was wonderful to come together with health and aged care sustainability champions, leadership and executive, government representatives, students, researchers, suppliers and more, to explore solutions to foster a healthy future for people and the planet. Attendees reported they were very satisfied or satisfied with the event and felt inspired by the end of the forum. Read the summary report.

Sustainable healthcare news

Victorian health department releases its climate adaptation plan

In February, the Victorian Department of Health and Department of Families, Fairness and Housing released their climate change adaptation action plan, Health and human services climate change adaptation action plan 2022-2026. Read more and download the plan.

AMA and DEA outline plan to reduce healthcare’s carbon footprint to top health bureaucrats

Australian Medical Association President, Dr Omar Khorshid, and Doctors for the Environment Sustainable Healthcare convenor, Dr Eugenie Kayak presented to the Health Chief Executives Forum on their joint call to improve healthcare environmental sustainability. Read more.

Canadian GPs subscribe National Park Passes for health

GPs in Canada can now prescribe patients a National Parks pass to spend time in nature as an antidote to a range of medical conditions. Founder of Park Prescriptions, Dr Melissa Lem and CEO of British Columbia Parks Foundation, Dr Andrew Day explain how park prescriptions work and why time spent outdoors is good for health. Listen back to RN Breakfast.


SHARE conference (Sustainable Healthcare Academic Research And Enterprise)

Friday 6 May, 10am-4.30pm BST. Online via Zoom.

This conference will offer keynote talks, oral presentations and posters about putting the theory of sustainability principles into action in healthcare practice. The conference is co-hosted by the University of Brighton School of Sport and Health Sciences, Brighton and Sussex Medical School and the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare. Find event details and register for the conference.

IHF International Study Tour

8-14 May in Berlin, Germany & Utrecht, the Netherlands

Participate in IHF 2022 international study tour on Green Hospitals: gain transferable learnings about how German and Dutch hospitals are adapting to tackle climate change, while building a professional network around sustainability in healthcare. Find program details and register.

CleanMed 2022

10-12 May in Kansas City, USA

CleanMed is the premier national conference for leaders in health care sustainability. It is the platform for health care leaders to convene, collaborate, and conduct societal transformation for individual, community, and planetary health. Find event details and register.

ANMF (VIC Branch) Health and Environmental Sustainability Conference

13 May in Melbourne.
Cost $115-$475.
Early bird registration closes 15 April.
Registration open to non-ANMF members.

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (VIC Branch) will host their annual Health and Environmental Sustainability Conference as a face-to-face event in Melbourne this year. Attend the conference to “Gain invaluable insight and inspiration into how we can improve environmental sustainability at work, at home and in our communities. Join together with a growing movement of health professionals who are changing the way we deliver health”. Find conference details and register.

Coda 22

11-14 September in Melbourne

Coda 22 is guaranteed to inspire your practice. The program has been broadly categorised into areas: Earth, Cure, Educate and Ethics. CODA welcomes all healthcare professionals including physicians, nurses, allied health practitioners, paramedics, researchers, administrators & students. The program has been carefully designed to meet all your CPD/CME requirements by fusing three core professional development objectives:

  • Improving clinical knowledge and skills
  • Inspiring healthcare advocacy, leadership and action
  • Igniting professional connections

Find program details and register.

Research, resources and reports

CAHA summary | “Climate Change is a Health Crisis: Health Messages from the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report on Climate Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability”

The Climate and Health Alliance has released a 20-page summary of the most recent IPCC Report, released on 28 February. The summary covers the IPCC’s findings on climate impacts in Australia, including its effect on physical and mental health.

Read the summary, and share on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.

CAHA also held an online briefing session on the IPCC report, and what it meant for our health. Our policy and advocacy manager, Arthur Wyns, hosted a conversation between three IPCC lead authors, Dr Kathryn Bowen, Dr Lauren Rickards and Dr Nina Hall, and Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer, Dr Angie Bone. Watch the recording here.

CAHA factsheet | “Climate action is good for your health”

CAHA's new factsheet summarises the direct personal health benefits of climate action. The first page is aimed at actions which are good for health, good for the climate and encourages pro-environmental behaviour. On the second page, it contextualises the role of personal action for climate action, and gives options to take action to drive more systemic change if desired.

Read the factsheet, and share on Twitter or Facebook.

CAHA survey | What would you like to see in a climate change and health CPD program?

Australian health professionals want climate action. Their biggest barrier to taking action? "Feeling insufficiently informed." That's why we are working on a professional development program on climate change and health! Will you take a 10-minute survey to help us design this program? Your insights will help us develop the most useful training and education opportunities for health professionals and stakeholders. Take the survey.

Case study | “Quantifying the societal benefits from telehealth”

This is one of only a few studies that has quantified the societal benefit of telehealth in terms of productivity in a public health service. For Queensland Health, the societal benefit of telehealth in terms of productivity gains was estimated to be A$9,176,052 per annum or A$304 per telehealth consult. The productivity gains estimated in this study represent an overall benefit to society. Read more.

New research | “High value health care is low carbon health care”

Barratt, Bell, Charlesworth and McGain, Med J Aust, 7 February 2022

This MJA article gives an overview of the carbon footprint of harmful and low value care, and provides suggestions for action at the macro, meso and micro level. Read more.

Climate-health waiting room posters by the RACGP

The RACGP has recently launched seven free posters for waiting rooms, alerting patients to the risks of climate-health impacts. The posters have a QR code which links to important health advice. There are posters on extreme heat, fossil fuel air pollution, bushfires, air pollution in pregnancy and mental health impacts.

Carbon footprint calculator for avoided patient travel

This guide and carbon calculator provides step-by-step guidance, along with an accompanying carbon footprint calculator, to support healthcare professionals in calculating the emission savings of (avoided) patient travel due to switching from in-person outpatient or GP appointments to remote consultations. Read the guide.

Report | “Climate resilience for health care and communities: Strategies and case studies”

This report by Health Care Without Harm US & Canada provides a strategic framework for building climate-resilient health systems and communities, and explores how health institutions can support equitable decarbonisation. With case studies, the report outlines actions health systems can take to adapt and recover from climate-driven service impacts, strengthen long-term sustainability, and support health and equity in the communities they serve. Read the report.

Report | “Global analysis of health care waste in the context of COVID-19”

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in healthcare waste, straining under-resourced healthcare facilities and exacerbating environmental impacts from solid waste. The World Health Organization has quantified this increase, described current healthcare waste management systems and their deficiencies, and summarised emerging best practices and solutions to reduce the impact of waste on human and environmental health. Read the report.

Report | “The carbon impact of biotech & pharma: A roadmap to 1.5°C”

Biotechnology and pharmaceuticals are among the world’s largest carbon-emitting industries and must be a part of the global climate solution. This report leverages data from 234 publicly-listed companies to produce a comprehensive profile of the carbon impact of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, and compares that profile to other industry sectors. This report is the first to quantify Scope 1 and 2 as well as Scope 3, the indirect emissions across the industry’s value chain. Read the report.

Report| “Global Plastics Outlook: Economic drivers, environmental impacts and policy options”

This book offers a unique quantified picture of the full lifecycle of plastics globally, including production, consumption, waste, recycling, disposal, leakage and greenhouse gas emissions. It outlines five key challenges of plastic, and four critical levers which could make the life cycle more circular. Read more.

Workshop recording | “Exploring the nexus of climate change, human health and healthcare system sustainability”

On 2 December 2021, Partnership Centre for Health System Sustainability researchers were joined by a panel of global experts for an online workshop on the intersection of climate change and human health. The session involved discussions around the unique climate challenges to health, and solutions to improve human health and create more resilient healthcare systems. Following the presentations, there was a panel discussion moderated by ABC national medical reporter Sophie Scott. Watch the workshop back.


Order “Climate Action Now” signs for home and work

Can you put up a ‘Climate Action Now’ sign in your workplace? We’d love to get these yellow signs up in healthcare facilities across the country! Order them for free.

Doctors are raising their voice for climate action

Doctors and health care professionals around Australia have been witnessing the impacts of climate change on their patients over the years. In this article by Together We Can, they shared how climate change impacts our health in many ways.

“Doctors like me will bear witness to the rising harm and death toll in the decades to come. I don't want to see my patients and community suffer when clear solutions to this crisis are at hand,” says Dr Michelle Hamrosi. “I am calling on our government to act urgently, as they did for the COVID-19 pandemic, because our health and livelihoods depend on it.” Read the article.

You can add your voice too. CAHA is working with Together We Can, a climate movement for everyone in Australia, to gather stories from all Australians. These will be taken to Parliament House post-election. Add your story.

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