Climate change is a health issue: what can doctors do?

Peter Sainsbury, Kate Charlesworth, Lynne Madden, Anthony Capon, Greg Stewart, David Pencheon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The visit to Australia by Dr David Pencheon, Founding Director of the National Health Service (NHS) Sustainable Development Unit, in April–May 2018 generated considerable interest and engagement. Dr Pencheon's overarching messages were that climate change is a health issue and that doctors and health systems have an opportunity, and responsibility, to lead climate action. This article distils Dr Pencheon's presentations into three themes: (i) carbon accounting; (ii) transformational change in our systems of healthcare; and (iii) a health system fit for the future. For each theme, we highlight promising initiatives that are already underway in Australia that are starting to transform our health system into one fit for a future environmentally sustainable world. We suggest practical ways in which doctors can lead the transformation through personal action and influence broader systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1044-1048
Number of pages5
JournalInternal Medicine Journal
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • climate change
  • environmentally sustainable healthcare
  • global warming
  • health impacts of climate change
  • health service

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