RCGP to stop investing in fossil fuel companies

Publication date: 27 July 2018

The Royal College of General Practitioners has made the decision to stop any investment in fossil fuels – a key contributor to climate change.

The UK's largest Medical Royal College, with more than 52,000 members, is a leading member of the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change and has long-recognised the impact that climate change has on the environment - and the adverse effects it can have on patients' health.

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 2154 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.

"Excessive exposure to heat and sun can cause numerous health conditions, such as dehydration and heat exhaustion, particularly for our most vulnerable patients – the elderly, frail, young children and patients with severe learning difficulties. Hot conditions can also worsen existing heart, kidney and lung conditions.

"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."

Dr Steve Mowle, Honorary Treasurer for the Royal College of GPs, said: “We're really pleased that this decision has been passed by the College's Trustee Board. We felt that the benefit of our modest investment in fossil fuel companies was outweighed by the negative impact that climate change can have on patients' health."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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