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News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

Surgeons first to step up sustainability commitment

Health Industry Hub | November 21, 2022 |

MedTech News: The Australian healthcare sector makes up 7% of the national carbon footprint. The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) has become the first medical college in Australia to sign up to the newly released Green College Guidelines.

The guidelines, which have been developed in collaboration by the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and Doctor’s for the Environment Australia (DEA), provide guidance to medical colleges on how they can reduce the carbon emissions of their organisation by incorporating practical changes to the way they operate.

Professor Steve Robson, President of AMA, said “I seek a strong and united coalition for action because I don’t think we have any time to lose. As a profession, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to bequeath a heathy planet to our children and their children. Climate change will have health effects on a scale that people are barely able to comprehend.”

Emeritus Professor David Fletcher AM, Chair of RACS’ Environmental Sustainability in Surgical Practice Working Party (ESSPWP) said that he was proud to endorse the guidelines and confident that the decision would result in tangible emissions reductions.

A healthcare sector gap in ESG reporting should be a wake-up call

Professor Fletcher said “We congratulate the AMA and DEA for their leadership on these issues and commend these guidelines for laying the groundwork for how medical organisations can collectively embed more sustainable practices. The healthcare community must take a leadership role in advocating for emissions reductions, and critically examine our own activities with respect to their effects on human and environmental health. There is a growing awareness within surgery that our profession accounts for the majority of health’s emissions and surgeons are committed to reducing the footprint of our practice.

“RACS has previously called for greater action on climate change at a government level. It is important that our position is consistent across our own organisation, and these guidelines will certainly assist with that. We also welcome the recent commitment by the Australian Government to develop a national climate and health strategy. We hope that we can leverage our demonstrated commitment to a more sustainable health sector to ensure that we are part of the broader conversation about how the strategy can deliver for the health sector, our patients and the communities that we serve”.

Doctors for the Environment Chair, Dr John Van Der Kallen said he would like to congratulate the college of surgeons for showing leadership in being the first college in Australia to endorse the Green college guidelines.

“It is terrific to see RACS being pro-active in sustainability,” Dr Van Der Kallen said.

“The healthcare sector contributes 7% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and 80% of this comes from providing clinical care. It is imperative that the surgeons incorporate sustainability into their clinical practice. By doing so they will be setting an example to other areas in the healthcare sector to reduce their emissions too. We look forward to other Colleges endorsing the Green College Guidelines.”

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