Bringing You the Daily Dispatch

The importance of physicians advocating for clean air | Correspondence
Environment World News

The importance of physicians advocating for clean air | Correspondence

Regarding your article (which discusses how doctors in the UK participating in climate protests may face consequences such as being removed from registration, on March 16th), the initial purpose of the General Medical Council is outlined in the Medical Act of 1983 as being to prevent illness. The document Good Medical Practice by the GMC states that doctors are responsible for promoting the well-being and safety of the public.

Studies have shown that air pollution, primarily from the combustion of fossil fuels, is negatively impacting the general population, resulting in increased risks of heart attacks, strokes, lung cancer, and dementia.

The general public expects physicians to openly communicate information about potential risks. Breathing air that is polluted at levels seen in the UK poses a risk. In terms of the global burden of disease, this is a higher risk factor for non-communicable diseases than obesity, physical inactivity, alcohol consumption, and exposure to secondhand smoke. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has specific recommendations for doctors to inform families and patients about the risks of polluted air and to help them decrease their exposure. Behavioral changes, such as using active transportation on less polluted roads and avoiding wood-burning stoves, can be helpful in reducing this risk. However, more effective action includes advocating for and voting for political changes and policies that address the underlying causes and offer solutions.

The main focus of the GMC should be to safeguard public health by emphasizing the importance of doctors adhering to evidence-based guidelines set by their professional bodies and advocating for clean air, rather than punishing the few who, motivated by moral distress, disobey the law.

Cannot reword.

Source: theguardian.com