New article on planetary health and primary care

Stefi Barna's picture


Resource Description: 

Planetary health and primary care: what’s the emergency?

Terry Kemple British Journal of General Practice 2019; 69 (688): 536-537. DOI:  

"In 30 years’ time, the next generation will be angry with us. In the same way that we puzzle how past generations lived with great evils like slavery, they will wonder how we all watched our planet’s health decline and caused the greatest failure of humankind — overwhelming the resilience of the planet to support us  [...]

All GPs and their teams are role models and act as educators in their communities to protect their patients’ health. Reframing their advice to benefit both the patient and the planet will include sharing with patients the urgent need to decarbonise our lives, rethink our diets, be more active, and to expect green and healthy buildings, neighbourhoods, and transportation systems. Whenever possible, we need to give a ‘it’s good for you and it’s good for the planet’ prescription nudge to boost more healthy and sustainable living.

Primary care can spread these messages in different ways in our different communities. For example, in low- and middle-income countries the WONCA Air Health Train the Trainer programme trains family doctors and health professionals to influence colleagues and communities to improve air quality and as a consequence, reduce greenhouse gases.11 In Borneo, Health In Harmony has a project that has reduced logging, increased wellbeing, and transformed the landscape.12

In the UK, there is an established NHS and Public Health England Sustainable Development Unit and a charity, the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare, that promote and advise on sustainability. Since 2014, the RCGP with its partner, the National Union of Students, has provided a free toolkit designed by GPs for GPs to help any general practice increase its sustainability and reduce its environmental impact.13 The toolkit is improved each year to make it more useful and easy to use [...]"


Publication date: 

November, 2019

Resource type: 

  • information resource

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