What is green healthcare?
A sustainable approach to quality care that builds efficiencies and considers the environmental impact of steps in care delivery processes. Core elements of green healthcare are understanding sources of carbon emissions and targeting strategies to increase carbon emission savings. Examples include, recycling activities, waste reduction initiatives, medication prescribing and disposal adjustments, medical equipment/supply use, etc.
Why is it important?
Climate change has been identified by the WHO as the greatest current population health concern. Reasons for this include, environmental changes such as wildfires, water and air pollution and more extreme weather and temperature trends. These factors contribute to growing patterns of communicable disease, allergies, malnutrition, heat stress, etc. At present, Canada’s healthcare system contributes 11% to our national, annual carbon emissions making it the 2nd highest carbon intensive health care system globally. The good news is, there is action we can take at our practice, clinic and organizational level to do our part in increasing our carbon emissions savings!
Vision and Mission
In August, an interdisciplinary group from across the FHT met to form our very first Guelph FHT Green Council to empower “Primary care throughout Guelph to embrace and champion environmental stewardship.” The council aims to:
- Engage primary care teams across Guelph, raising awareness of the importance of green healthcare and core initiatives aimed at increasing carbon emissions savings.
- Support primary care teams in their implementation of green healthcare practices through resource development, tracking, measuring and reporting on carbon emissions savings and care improvements.
- Facilitate change in patient, provider and community understanding and behaviour in sustainable healthcare through effective communication and education.
Here’s what Guelph Family Health Team is working on to combat climate change:
The Guelph FHT Green Council has identified opportunities for early wins and will be focusing efforts on 5 core initiatives to understand the impact of small changes on the health of our environment. Click on each icon to learn more:
GREEN T-SHIRT DAY
Date: Thursday, November 24
On this day, many of our Guelph FHT doctors and staff will be wearing green t-shirts with the message ‘Climate Change is a Health Issue’ to bring awareness to the connection between climate change and health and small changes we can all make to do our part.