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by Clare Morrison, Royal Pharmaceutical Society Scotland
12 September 2022
Associate Feature: Creating a national movement for environmentally sustainable prescribing

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Associate Feature: Creating a national movement for environmentally sustainable prescribing

Climate change is being talked about a lot right now, across the media and politics, within workplaces and communities and in people’s homes. After years of stark predictions from scientists about the effect of rising carbon emissions on our planet, everyone is now feeling its devastating effects.

At COP 26 in Glasgow, we were reminded that even now, it’s not too late to prevent the very worst effects of climate change; but we all need to act fast.

As the professional leadership body for pharmacists, Royal Pharmaceutical Society has prioritised sustainability. We have developed policies which set out how to reduce the environmental impact of medicines, which account for 25% of carbon emissions in the NHS and have wider ecological impacts. We were delighted to see so much overlap between our policies and the NHS Scotland climate emergency strategy. 

To achieve change, we need to work together. RPS Scotland has led the way, in conjunction with partners at the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties in Scotland, by bringing together healthcare leaders to produce a joint statement on making prescribing more environmentally sustainable. We now want to extend this to working with wider partners, including Scottish Government. 

The joint statement commits its signatories to influencing our professions and the public on making medicines use more environmentally sustainable. But to support this, we need more information about the environmental impact of medicines to be available in NHS prescribing guidelines and we need the infrastructure to support the delivery of a Realistic Medicine approach, like clearer referral pathways to greener social prescribing solutions. This is where we think politicians and policy makers can help. 

The statement is designed to inspire others to take positive action, and in doing so we’re leading a movement for environmentally sustainable prescribing.

We would love you to join us, as together we commit to building a greener Scotland.

This article was sponsored by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Scotland.

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