Physiotherapy already has a lot of the answers for a sustainable future for healthcare, so now’s the time to act, says Jennifer McNesfield
During November last year I put on my tunic and CSP student badge and marched down the high street in Oxford with fellow healthcare students and professionals to join the global day of action on climate change.
I have never taken part in a demonstration before. I was nervous. The questions flew through my mind: ‘What if I see someone I know?’, ‘What if members of the public shout at us?’ ‘What if my feet get really cold?!’ To my surprise, the experience was uplifting, inspiring and energising. It was heartening to meet like-minded healthcare professionals who have realised that within their duty of care lies a responsibility to act, and a responsibility to protect their patients by calling for action on the climate crisis.
How are physiotherapists responding to the requirement for sustainable healthcare and how could more of us be involved?
But I wondered why I was the only physio there – isn’t physiotherapy the ‘green’ healthcare solution? Outdoor exercise prescription and non-pharmacological, conservative interventions…aren’t we already quietly cracking on with sustainable healthcare in our clinics and therapy departments?
This got me thinking, how are physiotherapists responding to the requirement for sustainable healthcare and how could more of us be involved? So I joined together with other similarly concerned physiotherapy professionals, to form Physiotherapy Declares.
Our group is based on an existing group called Health Declares, who have supported other healthcare professionals including GPs, paediatricians and pharmacists, to work with their professional bodies to create action on climate change.
We believe the CSP has an opportunity to play a leading role in the transition to sustainable healthcare. Educating our workforce is paramount to achieving this and the Environmental Physiotherapy Association’s EPT Agenda 2023 provides a brilliant framework for doing this. Physiotherapy already has a lot of the answers to a more sustainable future for healthcare, so let’s get out there and spread the word.
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