NHS aims to become greener and hit 'net zero' target

NHS aims to become greener and hit ‘net zero’ target as its boss warns the UK is facing climate health emergency

  • NHS boss Simon Stevens warns Britain faces health emergency due to pollution 
  • The health chief has vowed to set ‘ambitious date for NHS to reach net zero
  • Expert panel to look at changes the NHS can make to help tackle climate change

The NHS will gather a panel of experts to map out how it can become greener and reach ‘net zero’ emissions. 

Health chief Sir Simon Stevens warned Britain is facing a climate heath emergency and vowed to set a ‘practical, evidence-based and ambitious date’ for the NHS to reach net zero.

Patients travelling to the NHS and their visitors make up the equivalent of 6.7 billion road miles each year, estimates show.

Health chief Sir Simon Stevens warned Britain is facing a climate heath emergency. He vowed to set a ‘evidence-based and ambitious date’ for the NHS to reach net zero

The panel will look at changes the NHS can make in its own activities, in its supply chain and through wider partnerships, therefore also possibly contributing to the government’s overall target for the UK.

It will also look at changes that can be made in the NHS’s medical devices, consumables and pharmaceutical supply.

There is a commitment to better use technology to make up to 30 million outpatient appointments redundant, sparing patients thousands of unnecessary trips to and from hospital. 

The NHS will gather a panel of experts to map out how it can become greener and reach ‘net zero’ emissions. More than six billion road miles each year are from patients and their visitors travelling to the NHS, it has been estimated

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: ‘With almost 700 people dying potentially avoidable deaths due to air pollution every week we are facing a health emergency as well as a climate emergency.

‘Patients and the public rightly want the NHS to deliver for them today and to help safeguard the future health of our children and grandchildren.

‘While the NHS is already a world leader in sustainability, as the biggest employer in this country comprising nearly a tenth of the UK economy, we’re both part of the problem and part of the solution.

‘Indeed, if health services across the world were their own country, they’d be the fifth-largest emitter on the planet.

‘That’s why today we are mobilising our 1.3 million staff to take action for a greener NHS and it’s why we’ll be working with the world’s leading experts to help set a practical, evidence-based and ambitious date for the NHS to reach net zero.’

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘I am proud the NHS is leading the way globally by taking bold action on climate change. 

‘This government has a steadfast commitment to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050, and as our most cherished institution, it’s fitting the NHS is rising to the challenge.

‘We can only tackle climate change by working together and we need all of society to play a part.

‘Our brilliant NHS staff are taking up this mantle to help to deliver a more environmentally friendly NHS as part of its mission to safeguard our nation’s health for the future.’

There is a commitment to better use technology to make up to 30 million outpatient appointments redundant, sparing patients thousands of unnecessary trips to and from hospital [File photo]

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