The UK’s Royal College of General Practitioners (GPs) has pledged to stop investing in fossil fuels.
The group, which is the nation’s largest Medical Royal College and consists of a network of more than 52,000 family doctors, said it has long-recognised the impact climate change has on the environment and the adverse effects it can have on patients’ health.
It is a member of the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, which aims to empower health organisations to advocate for better responses to climate change and engage decisionmakers to strengthen policies that protect public health.
Around 4% of the College’s investment portfolio of £10.7 million at the end of the last financial year was invested in fossil fuels companies.
College Chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: “Climate change is a clear risk to the health and wellbeing of our patients – with recent research estimating 50 million predicted years of life lost across Great Britain between 2011 and 2054 if things don’t improve. We already face a seasonal crisis every winter that threatens to destabilise our national health service but with our summers forecasted to become hotter and hotter, we risk the emergence of a second seasonal crisis, and the NHS will simply be unable to cope.
“What is good for the planet is usually good for our patients’ health and the NHS as a whole – and I am delighted that the College has made the decision to disinvest from fossil fuel companies, which we know contributes to climate change.”