Dr Joanna Lin participated in the pilot of the GREEN practice CHECKLIST:

  1. What do you like about the Green Practice Checklist?

The Green Practice Checklist is a comprehensive and structured audit that helps practices identify and assess how environmentally aware and sustainable they are. I found it quite surprising how much more can be done in general practice to promote sustainability in health. It has given us food for thought and will help with future planning. I definitely feel this is a positive step forward.

  1. What are the easiest things to adapt to?

I was surprised to learn how environmentally unfriendly metered dose inhalers (MDIs) are. After discovering this, I discussed it at our practice meeting to encourage other doctors to consider prescribing alternatives to MDIs where they can. We have reduced our use of paper and toner by utilising E-scripts, E-faxes,  online referrals and services such as Healthlink to receive specialist letters.  Recycling is also a great way to be green because councils already provide the infrastructure for this. We have educated our team about how to sort waste so that it can be recycled, and we recycle our used aluminium coffee pods. These strategies have not been difficult or expensive to implement.

  1. What are the most challenging things to adapt to?

Solar panels are a great idea because we are mostly working during the day when the sun is out. However, the initial outlay is expensive, it would require approval from the landlord to install and we can’t take them with us if we move to another site. Certainly if you were starting a new practice or moving to a new premise, that would be a great way to be green and reduce electricity costs.

  1. Have you made any other adaptations based on the Green Practice Checklist and if so what are they?

We haven’t made many changes yet mostly because of time pressures and cost. But having this checklist has made us all more aware of things we can do, not just in our practice, but in our homes as well. Small things such as using green power suppliers, riding a bike or walking rather than driving and setting up a compost bin all make a difference.  

  1. Do you think many GPs will make at least one change to adapt to climate change?

A lot of GPs are concerned about climate change and the impact on patient health. One of my colleagues is in fact in the Doctors for the Environment Group. As a result, yes, I do believe a lot of GPs  want to set an example and inspire the community.

  1. Have you had patients that have been affected by climate change?

I have definitely seen young people who are anxious about climate change and the future. So much so, that some of them even choose not to have children because they worry about the environmental impacts of population growth. Older patients can struggle with the higher temperatures and also worry about the planet future generations will inherit.

For further information about the Green Practice Checklist, please contact practicesupport@cesphn.com.au