London, June 27 : Doctors should use their position to influence behaviour in a manner that helps combat climate change, according to experts.
While writing in British Medical Journal, Professor Mike Gill from the University of Surrey said that health professionals have been playing a crucial role in changing society's view that has led to significant reductions on smoking addiction, and they must do the same for climate change.
The NHS is the largest public sector contributor to climate change in the UK, responsible for generating over 18 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year, with 3pct of the UK total.
Despite the NHS recently committing to reducing carbon emissions by at least 60pct by 2050, it is not enough, Gill said that instant and intense behavioural changes are required to prevent irreversible climate change.
Gill said that health professionals need to show patients and governments how serious they are about the challenge of climate change.
Jenny Griffiths and colleagues from the Climate and Health Council and the Health and Sustainability Network have also recommended certain practical and inexpensive actions for doctors that could collectively cut carbon emissions to 5 million tonnes a year.
They urged health professionals to advice patients to have low-carbon diets and focus on walking and cycling instead of car travel. Health professionals can even hold meetings by teleconference, videoconference or web casting.
Doctors are also required to advocate locally, especially in primary care, to maximise home insulation and uptake of relevant grants.
They are also advised to campaign on an international level for stabilising the population by promoting literacy and female access to birth control; and putting climate change on the agenda of all meetings.