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61 Preventing medical overactivity: sustainable health care powered by core values
  1. Anna Stavdal1,2,
  2. Johann Agust Sigurdsson3,4,
  3. Halfdan Petursson5,6,
  4. Linn Getz3
  1. 1President of the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA), Oslo, Norway
  2. 2Department of General Practice, Institute of Health and Society, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  3. 3Department of Public Health and Nursing/General Practice Research Unit, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway
  4. 4Efstaleiti Healthcare Center/Primary Health Care of the Capital Area, Reykjavik, Iceland
  5. 5Omtanken Kållered Primary Care Centre, Gothenburg, Sweden
  6. 6Department of Family Medicine, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland


Introduction/background In 1978, the Alma Ata Declaration (adopted by WHO) affirmed health to be a fundamental human right, and primary health care (PHC) as the key to the attainment of the goal of Health for All. General practice/Family medicine (GP/FM) is the core medical discipline of PHC. The principles of modern GP/FM have since the 1960s been described within a framework of Core values that describe what GPs stand for and intend to act upon. During recent years, these values have been revisited and formally endorsed, both by the Nordic GP/FM colleges and the European region of the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA). At present, a global process associated with the Core values of GP/FM is taking shape.

Throughout the world, governments and organizations claim adherence to the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A fundamental premise for sustainability thinking is to consider the 17 SDGs as interrelated. Changes in one sector will always impact on the other domains and their interplay, for better or worse. The relevance of GP/FM Core values of healthcare has increased as they are compatible with high achievement in many if not all of UN´s SDG domains, not only e.g. Health and Wellbeing (SDG-3). They also favour Sustainable communities (SDG-11), Reduced inequality (SDG-10), Gender Equality (SDG-5), Partnerships for the goals (SDG-17) and, with specific interest for the Preventing Overdiagnosis agenda, Responsible production and consumption (SDG-12). The association with SDG-12 is particularly relevant as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) considers at least 20% of resource use in Western medical systems to represent waste. An ultimate outcome of adhering to the GP/FM Core values with reference to the SDG framework is favourable Climate action (SDG-13).

Aim and method The aim of the seminar is to demonstrate the compatibility of existing Core values in GP/FM and the UN 2030 SDG goals and discuss how this can be actively used in advocacy to underpin sustainable development in healthcare and prevent medical overactivity.

Key messages

  • Existing Core values of GP/FM are fundamentally compatible with UNs’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

  • The Core values of GP/FM explicitly address the issues of medical overactivity, overdiagnosis and overtreatment.

  • The discussion of how an integrative view of the UN 2030 SDGs can inspire other medical disciplines advocates for sustainable health.

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