NHS Green Plans

A Green Plan, previously known as a Sustainable Development Management Plan (SDMP), is a board-approved document outlining the organisation’s aims, objectives, plans and priorities for improving their local and global environmental and socio-economic impacts. It aims to help NHS trusts to drive improvements in the best interests of the public’s health, and ensure services remain fit for purpose today and for the future.

The NHS’s carbon footprint is the largest in the UK public sector and bigger than the entire footprint of countries like Estonia and Slovenia combined. Ten years ago, the UK passed the 2008 Climate Change Act legislation that committed the UK to reduce its carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. The NHS signed up to this target. Now, a decade on, the carbon footprint of the NHS is now 22.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (MtCO2e). This is a reduction of 11%. Estates and facilities have led the way with NHS organisations using more renewable energy and having far greater scrutiny on sustainable procurement. But we know that the majority of the carbon footprint of health care is not due to energy or travel but clinically related

The Green Plan sets out a vision, action plan and ways to report and track progress of how NHS trusts work towards meeting their carbon reduction targets. These include a number of areas such as capital projects, asset management and utilities, human resources, travel and logistics.

There are also a number of areas where clinician input is particularly important. These include:

  • Sustainable care models such as a recovery orientated approach, integrating physical and mental health care and linking up with local community services to provide more holistic social support
  • Green spaces and biodiversity such as green walking projects, growing food and planting to increase biodiversity in hospitals
  • Sustainable use of resources such as choosing wisely when prescribing, electronic referral forms and reducing the amount of clinical waste

Helping to develop and implement a Green Plan will help your organisation to improve the health of the local community and the health of the planet.

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