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GPs should advise on health impact of climate change

30 November 2009

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Health organisations believe that doctors should be helping patients understand the full impact of climate change on their state of health.

The Climate and Health Council, which includes the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal Society of Medicine, wants to raise the issue at December’s UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen.

It believes there is a direct link between climate change and health, and wants GPs and nurses to advise patients on how to reduce their carbon footprint.

The Council, formed to study the health benefits of tackling climate change, believes that it “threatens to radically undermine the health of all peoples”.

It is focusing on reducing carbon output by less driving and more walking, and by eating local, less processed food.

It says that health professionals are ideally placed to promote change because “we have ethical responsibility … as well as the capacity to influence people and our political representatives to take the necessary action”.

British Medical Association (BMA) spokeswoman Vivienne Nathanson says that the report “clearly shows that taking action to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions can have positive impacts for health.”

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Climate and Health Council