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Here's how to cut our carbon footprint

Here are a few ways practices can cut their carbon footprint and save a few bob at the same time.

  • Do more consultations by phone. Ask receptionists or sponsor them to take more phone messages.
  • Transmit prescriptions direct to the pharmacy rather than have patients pick them up.
  • Co-ordinate prescriptions so patients need only to pick them up at infrequent intervals.
  • Combine home visits with vaccinations.
  • Limit the need for rush-hour travel.
  • Insulate premises - walls, roofspace, doorframes.
  • Consider solar heating for hot water (payback time may be less than 10 years if inflation gets going).
  • Ensure the heating is only on when it is needed.
  • Ventilate rooms when heating is off.
  • Encourage everyone to wear an extra layer and turn the heating down.
  • Don't leave lights on in unoccupied rooms.
  • Use dim lights in passageways, and keep them on temporarily.
  • Ensure the last one out puts out the lights and switches off all computer terminals.
  • Have a bike park at the practice premises and encourage people to use it.
  • Do postgraduate education by distance learning rather than travelling to meetings. Organise skill-sharing co-education meetings locally.
  • Ensure vaccines in fridges are easy to find. Keep a directory on the top of the fridge.
  • If you have more than one vaccine fridge, don't keep several fridges part full and switched on.
  • Share garden produce and encourage a more vegetarian diet.
  • Heat no more water than is needed for hot drinks.
  • But if there is spare hot water, keep it in a vacuum flask for next time.
  • Make a note of electricity and gas consumption quarterly, and keep it on a graph on the noticeboard.
  • Sponsor staff to keep gas and electricity consumption down.

Dream up a few suggestions of your own. Discuss this at your next practice meeting.

From Dr Alick Munro, Cranford, Middlesex

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