Achieving net zero in the NHS

By - Integrated Care Journal

Achieving net zero in the NHS

For the second webinar of the Public Policy Projects Environment & Health Series Building a greener NHS: Reaching net zero, PPP Chair Stephen Dorrell was joined by Dr Nick Watts, Chief Sustainability of the NHS England\I and Dame Jackie Daniel, Chief Executive of the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The discussion focused on the challenges and priorities of the NHS’s pathway to net zero emissions.

The health and care system in England is responsible for an estimated 4-5 per cent of the country’s carbon footprint, approximately the level of emissions generated by a country the size of Croatia or Denmark.

In October 2020, the NHS published a report Delivering a ‘Net Zero’ National Health Service which examines a number of the areas critical to carbon reduction across the NHS including: Estate and facilities, Medicines, Supply chain, Travel and transport, Food, catering and nutrition, Research, innovation and offsetting.

Through the Greener NHS programme, the NHS adopted a multiyear plan to become world’s first carbon net zero national health system.

While addressing the PPP webinar Dr Watts, among other things, expressed the NHS’s commitment to tackle the current emissions of the NHS’ supply chain, which represents a large proportion of the overall emission of the health service. He promised that “the NHS will no longer purchase from anyone that does not meet or exceed our commitments on net zero”.

"The climate crisis is health crisis” stressed Dr Watts and thus it is a very good reason why the NHS should care about reaching net zero. That it has already reduced its emissions in the last 10 years is an excellent start, Dr Watts explained.

For that same reason, in June 2019, Newcastle Hospitals became the first healthcare organisation in the world to declare a Climate Emergency, a commitment to becoming a net-zero carbon organisation by 2040.

Dame Jackie Daniel, CEO of the Trust, came to speak at the PPP webinar to provide Insights on Trust’s decision to declare a Climate Emergency. She explained how the Trust’s decision was fully supported by the staff who are now playing an important part in reducing the emissions where they can.



Highlights of the Environment & Health webinar "Building a greener NHS: Reching net zero"



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