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Greener Practice

Checked: 18-03-2024 by 3 Vicky Ryan Next Review: 27-09-2025


Climate change is the greatest global health threat facing the world in the 21st century and it will have a massive impact on the lives of our patients.  It is absolutely key that GPs know how to practice sustainably and feel confident in discussing this with patients. Now is the moment for all our organisations to put environmental sustainability at the heart of everything we do.    

Many of the planetary health guidelines and links listed in the section below involve clinical guidance, and are centered around improving patient care e.g.  greener asthma prescribing, nature-based interventions, improved nutrition to prevent chronic diseases, social prescribing etc.     

Please see the resources section below for further information about what practices and individuals can do to help.

If you would like further information or want to get involved with Planetary Health then please contact the local branch of Greener Practice:


Please see links below for information on making health care more environmentally sustainable: ·

  • The RCGP Green Impact for Health toolkit can be used by GP practices to make their practice as environmentally friendly as possible.
  • Greener Practice is a group and website developed by GPs in Sheffield to help GPs everywhere practice sustainably. There is a local Bristol branch which meets regularly to share ideas and help practices use the toolkit. Email if you would like to join this group. Everybody is welcome including admin staff, pharmacists, nurses, patients and doctors. 
  • SEE Sustainability has a carbon calculator which can be used to calculate the carbon footprint of a GP practice and plenty of tips for how to improve it.
  • This Planetary Health Leaflet is for Health Care staff who want to take action on environmental issues
  • This is a list of Planetary Health resources including websites, articles, books, videos and podcasts. 
  • Greener NHS outlines how the NHS plans to become a ‘Net Zero’ health service.
  • Bringing nature into the consultation - article by Dr Alan Kellas. Tips for GPs about how they can develop consultation skills to incorporate nature and green issues.
  • The Special Green Issue (May 2022) of the BNSSG Medicines Optimisation Newsletter - This special edition newsletter is aimed at giving suggestions to help support the green agenda with their prescribing.

Environmental impact of inhalers

Metered-dose inhalers (MDIs) contribute to an estimated 3.9% of the carbon footprint of the NHS. The BNSSG respiratory system formulary page has information about the environmental impact of inhalers and can help inform choices about which inhalers should be used.

The Greener Practice website also has a Toolkit for High Quality and Low Carbon Asthma Care – Greener Practice

Green social prescribing

There is now clear evidence that nature-based activities have benefits for physical and mental health and wellbeing. Green social prescribing can benefit a huge range of patients and may be more beneficial than pharmacological prescriptions in some cases. Click here for further details on tips and resources to help your patients connect with nature.

The Green Social Prescribing Directory (2023) aims to showcase some of the many and diverse local organisations offering outdoor and nature-based activities and services across Bristol & the surrounding areas. These include 1:1 nature therapy sessions, walking groups, watersport projects and many more.

Here is a leaflet about Green Social Prescribing with a map of the local Green Spaces in East Bristol.

Healthier with nature maps:

This 'Healthier with Nature' video gives more information about the Green Social Prescribing Projects in BNSSG.

Watch this video by Open Minds Active to find out about the benefits of Wild Swimming and how it can help patients.