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The scope of patient, healthcare professional and healthcare systems responsibilities to reduce the carbon footprint of inhalers: a response to commentaries
  1. Joshua Parker
  1. Medicine, Lancaster University Lancaster Medical School, Lancaster, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Joshua Parker, Medicine, Lancaster University Lancaster Medical School, Lancaster, Lancashire, UK; joshua.parker{at}

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I am grateful for these four wide-ranging and incisive commentaries on my paper discussing the ethical issues that arise when we consider the carbon footprint of inhalers.1 As I am unable to address every point raised, instead I focus on what I take to be the common thread running through these papers. Each response has something to say regarding the scope of healthcare’s responsibility to mitigate climate change. This can be explored at the intuitional or structural level, or at the individual patient and practitioner level leading to a further issue of the relationship between these perspectives.

Coverdale argues for broadening the scope of individual responsibilities regarding the climate.2 Discussing inhalers does not go far enough and doctors, argues Coverdale, are well placed to draw attention to the various behaviour changes patients can undertake both through role modelling and in the clinic. While Coverdale makes some excellent points, I have three worries about his proposal. One is relevance. Climate concerns may not always be pertinent in the clinical encounter; think of counselling a bereaved patient or somebody needing a fit note. Related to this is opportunity. General practitioners capacity to cover an inordinate amount in a 10 min consultation …

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  • Contributors The author solely responsible for this work.

  • Funding This study was funded by the Wellcome Trust (223463/Z/21/Z).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.