Between 65 – 90% of a practice’s carbon footprint is due to the medications that we prescribe. In addition, there are issues around the disposal of medicines and their packaging. Medicines are a vital part of providing good healthcare and we are not advocating stopping prescribing altogether. However, there is more we can do to review what, why, when and how we prescribe.
The practice plans to help reduce its carbon footprint with regards to medication by;
- Reducing over-prescribing and de-prescribing where appropriate. This also has the benefit of reducing the risks of medication burden or problematic polypharmacy.
- Improving awareness of lower-carbon alternatives.
- Improving awareness of how to dispose of medications safely.
The practice plans to do this through;
- Education of the whole practice team.
- Structured Medication Reviews and Medicines Optimisation; ensuring that medications are indicated, safe and desired by the patient and that greener alternatives are considered where appropriate. NB: Having the best control of a patient’s disease using medication and other treatments will always be more environmentally friendly (and carbon-efficient) than having a patient with a poorly controlled disease, who may eventually require more intensive treatments, investigations, hospital admissions, follow up, etc.
- Utilisation of tools such as AnalyseRx or Open Prescribing to identify medications that could be switched, stopped, started or reviewed.
- Use of IT solutions such as Protocols and AccuRx to make it easier for clinicians and patients to make green choices.
The practice will work collaboratively with both patients and the ICB to try to facilitate these aims.
Last modified: November 10, 2023