Medicines account for about 25 per cent of carbon emissions within the NHS
Members of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) highlighted the work of pharmacists in making medicines use and the whole NHS more environmentally sustainable at the Welsh Senedd this week.
Politicians present were informed that around 25 per cent of the NHS’ carbon emissions result from medicines use, and therefore pharmacists’ expert skills are crucial for reducing these emissions.
RPS Wales Director, Elen Jones, was among the RPS staff who attended the event, which was co-hosted with the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.
Commenting on the event, Elen said: “It was great to get so many productive conversations with the politicians to highlight the great work pharmacists are already doing in the sustainability field and to explain what further steps are required to reduce the negative environmental and ecological impact of medicines.”
She was joined by three RPS expert members who have been trailblazers for climate action within the profession:
- Yasmina Hamdaoui, Pre-Operative Assessment Pharmacist at Betsi Cadwaladr UHB & co-founder of Ysbyty Gwynedd Green Group.
- Andy Evans, Owner of JDS Evans Pharmacy in Newport, the first Net Zero pharmacy in Wales.
- Minna Eii, NHS England’s Chief Sustainability Officer’s Clinical Fellow and Lead Author of upcoming RPS Greener Pharmacy Guides.
Elen thanked Yasmina, Andy and Minna for “the fantastic work they’ve undertaken in recent years”, and for helping bring their “key points to life for the politicians.”
Climate change is the most significant health threat modern society has ever faced: it affects clean air, safe drinking water, food and shelter.
In September 2021, the RPS formally recognised the climate and ecological emergency by publishing a declaration on reducing the environmental harm from medicines.
As experts in medicine, pharmacists can take a leading role in reducing the environmental impact of medicines use, but pharmacies cannot do this alone.
Therefore, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society is calling on the pharmaceutical industry, governments across GB and other stakeholders to join them to make the changes required to tackle the climate emergency.