Climate change poses a major threat to NHS staff, patients, and their communities. This is because there is a direct link between the health of our planet and the health of our people. The NHS is acting to reduce the harmful gases it puts into the atmosphere. Fewer emissions will mean fewer patients with asthma, heart disease, and cancer. It will also reduce any disruption to the delivery of the care we provide.
Change has already begun
Since 2010, efforts across the health service have resulted in NHS emissions being cut by 30%. This is already improving care, as well as the health and wellbeing of our patients. Decisions have been made to invest in greener medicines, greener transport, greener buildings, and greener energy consumption.
Health visitors in Brighton are doing their rounds on electric bikes, as they support new parents and families. This is both good for the environment and the wellbeing of health visitors.
Milton Keynes Hospital Trust is soon to generate more than 1.5GWh of free electricity from sunshine every year, equivalent to 15% of their total electricity – saving hundreds of thousands of pounds on their energy bills. They fully power energy-demanding CT scanners and MRI machines, so are securing our healthcare for the future.
In Bristol, anaesthetists are proving that excellent patient care is possible, while being good for the environment. Their drive to use greener gases and remove the use of any unnecessary gas, has seen them reduce their impact significantly. The emissions they’ve removed is the equivalent to taking 300 vehicles off our roads.
The challenge ahead
Despite such brilliant progress, there is still more to be done. Together, with the help of staff across the NHS, we hope to achieve even more. With more people involved, we stand every chance of meeting our target of becoming a net zero health service by 2040. We were the first health service in the world to make the commitment and intend to be the first to reach that status.
Discover how you can help
Everyone can do their bit. No matter how small. The more of us who introduce small actions into our everyday routines, the more we can lessen our impact on the environment, and the more we can improve health.
The Greener NHS programme hopes to deliver long-term positive change for the planet and the health of its people. Be part of that legacy. Find out more and show your support today by visiting www.england.nhs.uk/greenernhs