Local doctors clinics working towards being carbon neutral

Mostyn Street Clinic's Dr Louisa Hope has joined Doctors for the Environment and is helping to lead the initiatives at the local clinic.
Mostyn Street Clinic's Dr Louisa Hope has joined Doctors for the Environment and is helping to lead the initiatives at the local clinic.

Local medical clinics are doing their best to address climate change and reduce their impact on the environment putting a range of environmental sustainability measures in place in a bid to work towards becoming carbon neutral.
The efforts of local clinics have been praised by members of the Mount Alexander Zero Net Emissions Working Group, which have been encouraging local businesses and organisations in our shire to take action on climate change by moving to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025 or earlier if possible.
Previous Mount Alexander Zero Net Emissions Working Group success stories have appeared in the Mail and our sister paper the Midland Express and highlighted the efforts of local furniture business Like Butter and businesses at The Mill complex.
Dr Louisa Hope from the Mostyn Street Medical Clinic said the clinic has installed around 50 solar panels on its roof and a Tesla Battery to provide a green source of energy.
“We are absolutely delighted with the results. Our Jan-March quarter saw a reduction from $1309 (2020) to just $109 (2021) by comparison!” she said.
Dr Hope said the solar panels and battery storage also provide electricity security for their vaccine cold chain – protecting precious vaccines from the impact of power outages.
“We were seeing more and more power outages and a member of staff would have to rush in and insulate the fridge to try and make sure the vaccines would be remain viable. We did lose some vaccines. The new system offers piece of mind,” she said.
The clinic also sterilise their surgical instruments rather than have single use equipment and wear cotton gowns for PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and wash them each week to reduce disposable surgical gown waste.
The clinic has also looked to reduce its use of paper, planted native plants for carbon offset, encourages staff to ride to work, and has switched banks to a bank not investing in mining fossil fuels.
“We choose three things to focus on each semester – such as temperature control in the building, led globes and e-waste,” she said.
With the support of the Mount Alexander Zero Net Emissions Working Group the clinic is now planning to do an audit of their carbon footprint and make more efforts to reduce waste given that health care apparently contributes to about 5 per cent of emissions.
Mount Alexander Zero Net Emissions Working Group member Terry White said while many organisations are moving towards 100 per cent clean energy by tapping into renewable energy in the north of the state, they hope to encourage organisations to make big changes here on the ground where the community can see and learn the benefits.
“We want businesses to provide a positive example to other community members right here,” Mr White said.
All three local medical clinics have made positive changes installing solar and batteries, wearing cotton gowns for PPE and sterilising the surgical instruments. They are also using recycled paper, recycling soft plastics, moving to telehealth and e-scripts where possible to reduce paper use, and taking part in conversations between Doctors For Environment Australia (DEA) and Australian Medical Association (AMA) across the various medical departments regarding emissions reduction.
Goldfields Medical Group (formerly Lyttleton Street Clinic) manager Belinda Carra said they are also deeply committed to doing what they can to reduce their carbon footprint.
“The doctors and staff do their utmost to save what they can and improve the environment we all live and work in,” she said.

Dr Louisa Hope is pictured with Mostyn Street Clinic’s Tesla Battery.
Lisa Dennis
Editor of the Castlemaine Mail newspaper and senior journalist on our sister paper the Midland Express. Over the last 24 years Lisa been proudly reporting news in the Mount Alexander and Macedon Ranges communities.