Delivering a ‘Net Zero’ National Health Service
It’s no exaggeration to say that the climate emergency is a health emergency.
As a health system we are having to respond now, and will increasingly in the future, to more heatwaves, more flooding, more vector carrying diseases and more pandemics.
The NHS contributes to about 5% of the UK’s carbon emissions.
Between 5% and 7% of all road traffic is NHS orientated and around 7% of the UK’s healthcare estate is located in flood plains or is at risk from sea inundation in the next 30-50 years.
The Humber, Coast and Vale area is likely to be inundated with a sea level rise of between one and three metres by the end of 2100.
This is why the Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership recognises the need to tackle our health and care sector’s impact on the climate head-on.
The decarbonisation challenge ahead of us is enormous and it will take all of us in the health system to engage with this agenda.
In order to achieve zero emissions in the timescales, we need to change our models of care, our estate, fleet and operations, our supply chain and, ultimately, how we provide treatments and care to patients.
We also need to be prepared to adapt to the changes that climate change will inevitably bring and the effect it will have on our healthcare system.
Delivering a ‘Net Zero’ NHS report
In October 2020 the NHS vowed to become the world’s first carbon net zero national health system, which means it will change the way it operates so that its total greenhouse gas emissions would be equal to or less than the emissions it removes from the environment.
Click on the image below to download a copy of the Delivering a ‘Net Zero’ National Health Service report.
Our priorities and programmes
The ambitions laid out in the Delivering a ‘Net Zero’ National Health Service report sees the NHS commit to:
- Achieving net zero emissions for the emissions the NHS controls directly by 2040, with an ambition to reach an 80% reduction by 2028 to 2032
- Achieving net zero emissions for the emissions the NHS can influence, including the wider supply chain (NHS carbon footprint plus), by 2045, with an ambition to achieve an 80% reduction by 2036
The challenge to decarbonise the NHS is significant as the NHS contributes to about 5% of the UK’s carbon emissions. Between 5% and 7% of all road traffic is NHS orientated. In addition, around 7% of the UK’s healthcare estate is located in flood plains or is at risk from sea inundation in the next 30-50 years. The Humber, Coast and Vale area is likely to be affected by a sea level rise of between one and three metres by the end of 2100.
This commitment comes amid growing evidence of the health impacts of climate change and air pollution and aims to save thousands of lives and hospitalisations across the country – as air pollution is linked to conditions such as asthma, heart disease, strokes and lung cancer. Academics have linked high-pollution days with hundreds of extra out-of-hospital cardiac arrests and stroke or asthma-related hospital admissions.
In order to achieve zero emissions in the timescales, we need to change our models of care, our estate, fleet and operations, our supply chain and, ultimately, how we provide treatments and care to patients. We also need to be prepared to adapt to the changes that climate change will inevitably bring and the effect it will have on our healthcare system.
The Humber, Coast and Vale Sustainability and Net Zero programme was introduced towards the end of the 2020 and has gained real momentum with the establishment of a network of organisation level sustainability leads and the appointments of Chris O’Neill as director and Alexis Percival as climate change lead.
Initial work has been carried out to establish the HCV Partnership’s baseline carbon footprint to understand the scale of the task. Work is under way to develop a Humber, Coast and Vale climate change vision statement and green plan, which will be underpinned by green plans that are being developed by partner organisations.
The key areas of work that will be looked at in this coming year as part of the net zero and climate change agenda will be:
- Baseline assessments and establishing the HCV Partnership’s carbon footprint
- Working with all health and social care partners to identify a route to net zero
- Green plan assessment
- Anaesthetic gas assessment with a phase-out programme
- Primary care decarbonisation strategy
- Climate change adaptation planning
- Awareness campaigns.
Sustainability in Action across the HCV region
Across the Humber, Coast and Vale region sustainability leaders are striving to reduce the carbon emissions from the NHS and the healthcare system. From replacing lighting with more efficient LEDs to planting trees to installing large solar farms we are working to eliminate emissions and tackle climate change from within the health system. Find out from Sustainability leaders from across the Humber, Coast and Vale region on our following sessions.
Session 1: Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, NHS Property Services, Navigo and Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust – watch here
Session 2: Humber Teaching Hospitals and York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals – to follow shortly
Session 3: To follow shortly
Climate change lunch and learn events
Together with West Yorkshire and Harrogate Healthcare Partnership, we are hosted fortnightly Climate Lunch and Learn events. These were a series of hour-long sessions to address the challenges we face with Climate Change and the impact this will have on our healthcare system as well as the population we serve.
The sessions took place on alternate Fridays and were hosted on Microsoft Teams.
This series of talks looked at climate change, anaesthetic gases, meter dose inhalers, floods and climate adaptation, health inequalities, food and the impact of diet, PPE, procurement, biodiversity as well the impact on mental health, digital, waste and travel.
We explored the impact that healthcare has across the world and the impact that climate change will have on healthcare into the future.
Below, you will find details on each of the webinar sessions which took place between May and November 2021.
|Session 1||Friday 28th May 2021||12:30-1:30pm||This is an Emergency! Climate Change and the Health impacts across the North|
|Session 2||Friday 11th June 2021||12:30-1:30pm||Anaesthetics – it’s a gas! Greening Anaesthesia|
|Session 3||Friday 25th June 2021||12:30-1:30pm||Greening the Secondary Care system: Hospitals, Emergency Departments, Pharmacies and Perioperative Care|
|Session 4||Friday 9th July 2021||12:30-1:30pm||Greening the NHS: Biodiversity, green social prescribing and rewilding|
|Session 5||Friday 23rd July 2021||12:30-1:30pm||Innovating in the NHS|
|Session 6||Friday 6th August 2021||12:30-1:30pm||What a load of rubbish! What does waste have to do with Climate Change?|
|Session 7||Friday 20th August 2021||12:30-1:30pm||Buy, Buy, Buy! How can Procurement change our impact on climate change?|
|Session 8||Friday 3rd September 2021||12:30-1:30pm||Greening the Primary Care Network|
|Session 9||Friday 17th September 2021||12:30-1:30pm||Greening Digital|
|Session 10||Friday 1st October 2021||12:30-1:30pm||Climate Change Adaptation Planning|
|Session 11||Friday 15th October 2021||12:30-1:30pm||Nee Naw, Brmmm, Beep, Bring Bring: Greening the NHS’s Fleet|
|Session 12||Friday 29th October 2021||12:30-1:30pm||Nom, Nom, Nom: How can food choices can help reduce the healthcare impact on the climate crisis as well as improve health?|
|Session 13||Friday 12th November 2021||12:30-1:30pm||COP26|
All the session recordings can be found here
Below, are the last three recordings.
£66m decarbonisation funding windfall for Humber, Coast and Vale hospitals
Three of Humber, Coast and Vale’s hospital trusts have received funding worth more than £66million to support work to reduce carbon emissions at their hospitals. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has awarded these grants as part of its £1billion Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme to fund capital energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects.
Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust has been allocated £40.3 million to make improvements at its three hospitals – Scunthorpe General Hospital, Goole and District Hospital and Diana Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby.
Part of the funding will be used to replace the coal-fired boiler at Goole and District Hospital with a combined heat and power system.
Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust has received £14million to install an air source heat pump at Harrogate District Hospital, which will reduce the consumption of natural gas at the site.
The money will also address some of the long-standing maintenance matters relating to the hospital building including repairing and replacing some of the roofing and windows. As part of the roofing replacement work, solar panels will be installed to provide a sustainable green source for electricity and reduce the reliance on grid electricity.
Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust was awarded £12.6million for upgrades at Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital.
Click on each of the headlines below to read more about how each trust were awarded their funding.