Reassessing "Good" Medical Practice and the Climate Crisis

YASSAIE, Rammina and BROOKS, Lucy (2024). Reassessing "Good" Medical Practice and the Climate Crisis. Journal of Medical Ethics.

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In August 2023, the GMC released the latest update of Good Medical Practice, which sets out the standards of patient care and professional behaviour to be expected of UK doctors. These updated guidelines offer some environmental considerations, which previous standards did not include. This paper explores these latest additions to Good Medical Practice through the healthcare ethics lens of non-maleficience, beneficience, justice and autonomy, alongside trust and physician wellbeing, to make the case that the latest updates to Good Medical Practice do not go far enough in specifying the duties for doctors in responding to the climate and ecological emergency, to be seen as ethically justifiable. The paper argues that given the health implications of the climate crisis and the harms associated with high-emission healthcare, as well as the co-benefits of climate action on health, there must be a stronger commitment from the medical regulator to ensure the groundwork is set for doctors to learn, understand and advocate for the importance and urgency of practicing sustainable healthcare. The case for this is strengthened by also examining the importance of maintaining public trust in the medical profession as advocates for public health, along with the notable societal and generational injustices that continue to deepen as the climate emergency escalates. The paper concludes by arguing that doctors can and should be a part of writing a new chapter for health in the climate era, but our standards for practice need to offer a strengthened starting point of consensus for what is expected of the medical profession for that to come to fruition and raises questions as to what doctors can and should do when they have questions over their own regulators’ commitment to maintaining public health in relation to the climate and ecological crisis.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1199 Other Medical and Health Sciences; 1801 Law; 2201 Applied Ethics; Applied Ethics; 5001 Applied ethics
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SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2024 15:08
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2024 13:05

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