The Climate and Health Council, a collaboration of worldwide health organisations including the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal Society of Medicine, believes there is a direct link between climate change and better health. Their controversial plan would see GPs and nurses give out advice to their patients on how to lower their carbon footprint.
So what might a visit to a physician look like in 2012 England?
— Doctor, I have swollen lymph nodes.
We'll get to that. Am I correct that you drove here?
— Sorry? Did I drive here? I — um — yes I did. What ...
You are aware that you could have taken the number 39 bus?
— Yes, I suppose. It only comes once an hour though. I prefer my car.
Well, there's your problem. Your carbon footprint is out of control.
— I, um — I'm actually here to see you about my swollen lymph nodes. How I got here is not that important, is it?
That's where you're wrong, unfortunately. If you don't contribute to keeping our environment healthy, why should our considerable national-health apparatus contribute to keeping you healthy? We all have our responsibilities, my good man. It doesn't appear that you take yours very seriously, now do you?
— Look, could we drop it please, and talk about my lymph nodes for a second?
Certainly. Take two aspirins and call me in the morning. Make sure you take them with a small sip of water, so as not to waste our precious resources. But definitely don't use a soft drink to wash them down — the sugar will kill you. May I suggest you walk home, by the way? A little exercise never hurt anyone. You may pick up a map for pedestrians, with suggested walks, in the waiting room on your way out, for 75 pence.
— This is getting bizarre. No thank you, I'm driving.
Stubborn fellow, aren't you? But please take a map anyway. The proceeds enable the National Health Service to promote environmental awareness among the lightly educated, such as yourself. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a ten-year-old boy with a broken leg to tend to. It seems he violated the sanctity of a tree and fell off a branch.
— Poor lad.
Oh, I assure you, it's nothing that can't be helped with a stern talking-to.
In the none-too-encouraging present, here's the latest scandal involving yet another National-Health-Service-administered shithole hospital.