Climate Action at HHFT
HHFT has joined with other organisations and healthcare institutions across the world taking action on climate change.
Hampshire Hospitals aims to embed sustainability in all aspects of the organisation and ensure effective monitoring and use of resources. Tackling climate change reduces the impacts on public health as well as providing an efficient, effective, and good value health service for the future.
We have produced a Green Plan that outlines our actions over the next three years to become a sustainable organisation and one which is fully compliant with the NHS Net Zero 2040 Plan. Our Green Plan has been developed by our clinical and non-clinical teams with both people and planet at its heart. ‘Innovating for a Sustainable future’ is also a key theme of the new Trust strategy (2022-2028). The Green Plan has four clear objectives:
- Support the national NHS Net Zero Plan.
- Prioritise interventions that improve patient care and community wellbeing whilst tackling climate change.
- Plan for and make considered capital investments whilst increasing efficiency.
- Protecting our population and staff from the health threats relating to increased emissions and global warming.
The Green Plan consists of 10 key areas of focus, aligned with the ambitions and targets set up in the NHS Net Zero Plan. These areas are:
We will concentrate on carbon reduction opportunities within these areas over the next three years, with intentions to lay the foundations for our own net zero journey incorporating sustainability into all aspects of service provision.
We have modelled our carbon footprint in co-ordination with the Carbon Trust and created scenarios to allow us to see where carbon reduction can be made over time. We have an emissions baseline, and we calculate our carbon emissions using the Carbon Trust methodology annually to check progress.
If we build a new hospital and implemented all known carbon reduction projects to date (shown in green) we would reduce our carbon footprint by 74% by 2040, leaving a shortfall of around 17,000 tCO2e.
We don’t yet know or understand how we will tackle the ‘final 17,000 tCO2e emissions’, which are largely out-with our control, but we will seek to learn from others, take on board new technology, collaborate with our suppliers and be guided by the NHS Green Team going forward.
Responsibility and accountability for sustainable development is clear within the organisation, with effective governance and leadership. We have appointed a Board member and senior clinician to take responsibility and champion the implementation of the Green Plan. We have created a Climate Change Taskforce Group (CCTFG) to ensure that the Green Plan commitments are implemented. We have also created specialist groups to tackle specific areas of the Green Plan, such as the Green Inhaler Group and Sustainable Theatres Group.
To monitor and verify delivery, each of the ten areas has its own set of aims, deliverables and actions. These are specified in the Green Plan Action Plan and Tracker. Each of the actions has an owner who is responsible for setting relevant targets and KPIs. Progress towards the actions will be monitored at a detailed level by the owner and at the relevant specialist group meetings (e.g. Sustainable Theatres Group). Delivery of the overall Green Plan workstreams and aims will be monitored by the CCTFG and the Board.
We have also been appointed as NHSEI’s first living lab, allowing sustainable innovative technologies to be trialled at our sites. We are also in the process of planning a new hospital building near Basingstoke and this will be built to the NHS Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standards.
The climate emergency is a health emergency. Climate change poses a major threat to our health as well as our planet. The environment is changing, that change is accelerating, and this has direct and immediate consequences for our patients, the public and the NHS.
Action on climate change will bring direct improvements to public health and health equity. It will also save lives and reduce the demand for health services.
Ensuring the health and well-being of today’s population cannot be at the expense of the health and well-being of future generations. Due to this in October 2020 the NHS became the world’s first health service to commit to reaching carbon net zero in response to the profound and growing threat to health posed by climate change.
The Greener NHS programme aims to deliver the world’s first net zero health service and respond to climate change, improving health now and for future generations.
The NHS makes up 4% of England’s total carbon footprint, and 40% of the carbon footprint of the public sector so it has an essential role to play in meeting the net zero targets set under the Climate Change Act. Two targets are outlined in the Delivering a ‘Net Zero’ National Health Service Report
- For emissions controlled directly by the NHS (scope 1 and 2), to reach net zero by 2040, with an ambition to reach an 80% reduction compared with a 1990 baseline by 2028-2032.
- For indirect emissions we can influence e.g. in the supply chain (scope 3), to reach net zero by 2045. With an ambition to reach an 80% reduction compared with a 1990 baseline by 2036 to 2039
The NHS will also work towards net zero for the NHS Carbon Footprint Plus. This includes emissions from patient and visitor travel to/from NHS services and medicines used within the home. To get to net zero the NHS will need to remove 6.1 MtCO2e from the NHS carbon footprint and 24.9 MtCO2e from the NHS carbon footprint plus, roughly equivalent to the emissions profile of Croatia.
Hampshire Hospitals has also committed to become a sustainable organisation which is fully compliant with the NHS Net Zero 2040 plan.
There are several NHS strategic and policy documents which outline the requirements of the NHS to act on climate change, to improve the sustainability of operations and reduce carbon emissions. The key ones are:
Estates & Facilities Net Zero Carbon Delivery Plan (Nov 2021)
Consolidates existing policy around reducing carbon emissions from the NHS estate and makes recommendations to help trusts and integrated care systems deliver their green plans and estates strategies. Aimed at NHS estates and facilities staff, leadership and management teams and sustainability and energy professionals. Links closely with Green Plan Guidance.
Provides a national-level framework for action on climate change and sustainability. It provides a detailed account of the modelling and analytics underpinning the latest NHS carbon footprint, trajectories to net zero and the interventions required to achieve that ambition.
Sets out the priorities for healthcare for the next 10 years. Includes several sustainability commitments, ranging from reducing single-use plastics and water consumption, through to improving air quality.
Mandated by NHS England for use by commissioners for all contracts for healthcare services other than primary care. Includes requirements on providers to have a board-approved Green Plan that quantifies their environmental impacts, and report annually on progress. Sustainability content is in SC18.
Requires every trust to deliver at least 25% of its outpatient activity remotely, resulting in direct and tangible carbon reductions.
The Greener NHS National Programme is a national programme that exists to drive the transformation to Net-Zero while delivering against the NHS’s broader environmental health priorities. Laid out in the NHS Long Term Plan, these extended sustainability commitments range from reducing single-use plastics and water consumption, through to improving air quality.
The Greener NHS programme works with NHS staff, hospitals and partners. It builds on the work being done by trusts across the country, sharing ideas on how to reduce the impact on public health and the environment, save money and reach net carbon zero.
On 1 July 2022, the NHS in England became the first health system to embed net zero into legislation, through the Health and Care Act 2022. The Delivering a Net Zero National Health Service report is now issued as statutory guidance.
An NHS Sustainability Board has also been established to coordinate and support action across the entire system. Reporting directly to the NHS Public Board, it assures the breadth of sustainability work, leading on the implementation of the Delivering a ‘Net Zero’ National Health Service report, and monitoring progress against our climate change ambitions.