Many social determinants, including cultural and environmental factors, have an impact on health and wellbeing.
GPRA member Dr Benjamin Lewis has submitted an article about an initiative in Gippsland to reduce the impact of pollution on people’s health, and a study, published last week, highlights interesting considerations for registrars training in disadvantaged communities.
Working for a Healthy Future
The bread and butter of general practice is preventative medicine – much of what we try to do in our 15 minute consultations is geared toward preventing patients from coming through the door in the first place. As junior doctors, our busy lives often consume our focus and prevent us from stepping back and seeing a much bigger picture: the direct impact of environmental harms on our patients’ health.
Healthy Futures is a group of healthcare workers, led by a GP, who have been passionately working on environmental advocacy and educating the public about the important link between climate change and harm to human health. As a recent volunteer myself, I can attest to the absolute dedication and enthusiasm.
In recent years, our organisation has advocated for major health superannuation funds to move away from fossil fuels. Lately, Healthy Futures has been focused on a major campaign to get AGL to ‘quit coal by 2030’, as recent epidemiological data in my own local area of Gippsland suggests this may save approximately 1500 lives and prevent 1900 children from being born underweight.
As GP registrars and recent fellows of the college, it is important to recognise that our role as doctors extends well beyond the consultation room. A healthy environment means a healthy future for all of our patients, and we can all play a vital role in protecting it.
For more information about our upcoming campaigns, visit www.healthyfutures.net.au
Dr Benjamin Lewis
FRACGP DRANZCOG MBBS BmedSci
If you are a registrar doing your training, you might also find the research from ‘Socioeconomic status of practice location and Australian GP registrar’s training: a cross-sectional analysis’ applicable to your career moving forward.
The study highlights key considerations for registrars training in disadvantaged communities and the implications a patient’s financial situation has on their health.