The environmental cost of healthcare

 

This week, I spent time working with a hospital in Hull trying to improve the efficiency of their preoperative assessment.  Despite passionate and dedicated staff, current healthcare delivery is hugely wasteful and environmentally damaging, and we urgently need to reassess our actions.

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One of the most polluting aspects of healthcare delivery comes from pharmaceuticals, and our increasing reliance on medication. 

 

For every tablet we take, a small part will end up being flushed down the toilet.  Despite the valiant efforts of the water treatment plants, some will end up in the water systems to be consumed by fish and animals and ultimately work its way up the food chain to us. 

 

We don’t yet know what long term damage this build up will do to us or other creatures but we need to look at how we can decrease the amount of medication prescribed and find alternatives where possible.  Have a look at The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs https://www.youtube.com/embed/iFIlGODWM2E for alternatives.

 

This won’t be good news for the hugely successful pharmaceutical industries, but if we can move away from the ‘pill popping’ solution and where possible, find alternative treatments that don’t harm our environment, that would be a great start. 

 

Think twice before you pop that headache tablet – would a glass of water or brisk walk have the same effect?

 

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