Sustainable general practice

Aust J Gen Pract. 2023 May;52(5):257-261. doi: 10.31128/AJGP-07-22-6502.


Background: Climate change is a health emergency, and general practitioners have an important role in both mitigation and adaptation to the effects of climate change. Climate change is already impacting health in a myriad of ways, including death and illness from increasingly frequent extreme weather events, disruptions to food systems and changes in vector-borne diseases. General practice can demonstrate leadership by embracing sustainability as part of a primary care ethos aligning it with quality care.

Objective: The aim of this article is to outline the steps required to achieve and promote sustainability from practice operations through to clinical care and advocacy.

Discussion: Achieving sustainability requires not just a consideration of energy use or waste, but also a fundamental re-evaluation of the purpose and practice of medicine. A planetary health perspective requires us to recognise our connectedness to and dependence on the health of nature. It demands a change to models of healthcare that are sustainable, prioritise prevention and are inclusive of the social and environmental dimensions to health.

MeSH terms

  • Climate Change*
  • General Practice*
  • Humans