NHS needs to demonstrate its action on Climate Change
The 9th annual NHS Sustainability Day takes place across the NHS today. The day aims to create awareness within the NHS on the important role of environmental impact in creating a long-term sustainable National Health Service. Up and down England, Wales and Northern Ireland, NHS Trusts, Boards, Hospitals and Community Health groups will host activities to make patients, staff and visitors aware of how they are being environmentally friendly and tackling climate change.
The day is not only about gaining the attention of those who frequent Hospitals, it’s also about getting the attention of those at the helm. CEO’s and Managers across the NHS are all facing similar issues when it comes to funding and resources. However, many are over-looking the impact environmental impact can have on frontline services. Often seen as a unnecessary distraction in what is commonly a stressful healthcare landscape, many Trusts are ignoring significant cash benefits by paying no attention to sustainability.
In 2017 the NHS Sustainability Campaign reported financial savings of over £800,000 within just twenty- four NHS Trusts. The savings, made mainly through simple changes such as lighting, recycling and food waste reduction, demonstrated that through very little investment, huge savings could be made. One such Trust, University College London Hospital Foundation Trust, saved over £84,000 by simply reusing furniture through a national scheme. Alongside this they reduced wastage to landfill by 14 tonnes!
Speaking about the day, Campaign Manager, Scott Buckler said:
“Each year we see more and more NHS Trusts get involved in Sustainability Day. Across the country we will see people hosting open-days, planting trees, cycling to work, using reusable bottles and ditching single-use. There is still a significant number who are not taking advantage of the potential savings that can be made by simple actions. We feel there is not enough being done on this by government.”
Speaking on the role of government, Scott says:
“I think NHS Improvement are playing lip-service to environmental awareness and its impact on healthcare both in the form of reducing admissions through prevention and its potential to save money. If we don’t act soon, we will have a far bigger health crisis on our hands than we face now!”
“People will die from climate-change and as the biggest employer in Europe, the NHS has a duty of care when it comes to making staff, patients and visitors aware of the dangers.”
The NHS Sustainability Campaign and Day is independently run by 4 All of Us, a mission-driven company. It is supported by Barts Health NHS Trust, Wrap, Peta, Soil Association, IEMA, Vegan Society.
- It is funded through Membership, members can be found via https://www.nhssustainabilityday.co.uk/members/
- Interviews with Campaign Manager Scott Buckler can be requested
- Images to accompany the Press Release available upon request