A newly appreciated problem — climate change, for example — can spur people to consider all sorts of possible remedies. This study appears to have been done in that spirit:
“Tackling climate change close to home: mobile breast screening as a model,” Alan Bond, Andrew Jones, Robin Haynes, Matthew Tam, Erika Denton, Mandy Ballantyne, and John Curtin, Journal of Health Services Research & Policy, vol. 14, no. 3 (2009): 165-167. (Thanks to investigator Knud Nairz for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at the University of East Anglia and at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, explain:
Health services contribute significantly to carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and, while services in the UK are beginning to address this, the focus has been on reducing energy consumption rather than road transport, a major component of emissions. We aimed to compare the distances travelled by patients attending mobile breast screening clinics compared to the distance they would need to travel if screening services were centralized….
The availability of mobile breast screening clinics for the 60,675 women who underwent screening over a three-year cycle led to a return journey distance savings of 1,429,908 km. Taking into account the CO2 emissions of the tractor unit used for moving the mobile clinics around, this equates to approximately 75 tonnes of CO2 saved in any one year.