Prime Minister commends NHS for sustainability health check

The Prime Minister has praised the NHS for its efforts to make the service sustainable and is giving his support for the forthcoming NHS Sustainability Day.

Speaking about the importance of sustainability in the NHS, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “The NHS Sustainability Day is a very important initiative that aligns with this Government’s ambitions for a low-carbon and eco-friendly economy.

“I am encouraged by the scale of reduction in carbon the NHS is contributing towards the UK’s target and the acknowledgement that there is more to do,” he added.

All NHS organisations and stakeholders are being asked to sign up to a ‘day of action’ on sustainability, which will take place on the 28th March.

In 2010, the NHS Carbon Footprint was calculated at 21 million tonnes per year, making the NHS one of the biggest emitters of carbon in Europe.

The ‘Sustainability Health Check 2012’ undertaken by the NHS Sustainable Development Unit (SDU) report showed how sustainability is viewed by leaders in the health service, and demonstrated the public’s desire for a more sustainable healthcare system.

The aim of the report was to help NHS organisations and their leaders save money by being more sustainable, particularly with the support of the public.

Director of estates and facilities at Barts Health NHS Trust, Trevor Payne, who created NHS Sustainability Day, said: “Ensuring that sustainability is fully integrated into all aspects of delivering healthcare within the NHS is paramount to the future provision of healthcare in England.

“NHS Sustainability day allows individuals and organisations working for and with the NHS the opportunity to take action to make positive changes to behaviours which can minimise their impact on the environment and deliver more efficient and effective healthcare,” added Payne.

In August last year, an NHS report found that the residential care sector accounts for at least 3.4m tonnes of CO2 each year and almost £1.1bn in natural resource costs.

The report, which gathered data from 2008/09, explained that the social cost of carbon is adding a further £76m per year.

Leigh Stringer

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