Integrating Sustainability Into Postgraduate Medical Education

Future Healthc J. 2020 Jun;7(2):102-104. doi: 10.7861/fhj.2020-0042.


The delivery of healthcare is a major contributor to the climate crisis, with the NHS being the largest public sector contributor of carbon emissions in the UK. Physicians have an important role to play in the fight against climate change through the practice of sustainable healthcare. This involves maintaining the current and future quality of healthcare through balancing environmental, social and financial constraints. To this end, integrating these skills into medical education is crucial. A large number of medical schools have already embedded planetary health and sustainability theory into their curriculum, however, there is no formal sustainability curriculum in postgraduate education and training. This is vital for enabling clinicians to translate sustainability theory taught at undergraduate level into clinical practice. This article proposes which topics should be included in a postgraduate sustainability curriculum and explores various methods that could be used to incorporate these into the current educational framework.

Keywords: Sustainability; climate change; curriculum; postgraduate medical education; sustainable healthcare.