Environmentally sustainable health care: now is the time for action

Diana L Madden, Anthony Capon and Philip G Truskett
Med J Aust 2020; 212 (8): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50586
Published online: 4 May 2020

Excellence in environmentally sustainable health care must be the goal of the Australian medical profession

The bushfires that recently raged across south‐eastern Australia have again shown that climate change has serious health consequences. Thirty‐four people died, and half the Australian population was exposed to sustained, hazardous levels of air pollution.1 Mental health experts are flagging rising levels of eco‐anxiety about bushfires and climate change in general.2 The intensity and scale of the bushfires, which were amplified by climate change, have highlighted the urgent need for climate action.3 It is timely for clinicians and health care managers to reflect on the environmental footprint — including the carbon footprint — of the health care we provide, and to act to reduce it.

  • 1 University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney, NSW
  • 2 Monash Sustainable Development Institute, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC
  • 3 University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW
  • 4 Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, Melbourne, VIC


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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