Researching sustainability, researching sustainably
David Pencheon, Director of the NHS Sustainable Development Unit
David Pencheon is a UK trained public health doctor and is currently Director of the National Health Service’s Sustainable Development Unit for England. David was previously Director of a Public Health Observatory in Cambridge, England. He has worked as a clinical doctor in the NHS, a joint Director of Public Health, a Public Health Training Programme Director in the East of England, with the NHS R&D programme, and lived in China in the early 1990s contributing to the work of Save the Children Fund (UK). His main interests and areas of research and publication are: sustainable development, large scale transformational change, health and climate change, underpinning action and policy with good information and evidence, training and professional development, organisational development, medical informatics and decision support for health professionals, carers and the public. He blogs mainly via the BMJ website.
There are moral, political and legal imperatives for medicine to function more sustainably. The Climate Change Act for instance requires big organisations such as Health Trusts to have cut their carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. However how this transition to a low carbon health economy is to be achieved is currently an open question that has yet to be informed by high quality research. Research links to sustainability in two ways. Firstly there is research into how to run health services sustainably. A lot of research in Primary Care is, unknowingly, already following this agenda: for instance research into rationalising antibiotic prescribing or into avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions. This talk will open up for debate different ways in which researchers can turn their attention to the sustainability of services. The second aspect is the sustainability of research itself - regardless of the subject area. In this talk we will look at possibilities for greening our engagement with the research enterprise.