Sustainable development in the NHS

The NHS in England recently committed to net zero by 2040. The NHS in Scotland has not. The NHS England Sustainable Development Unit (SDU) support the NHS to develop sustainability action plans based on data, evidence and best practice. Whilst Scotland has clear expectations for sustainability in the NHS it has no equivalent of the SDU and this makes it considerably more difficult to Health Boards to improve their sustainability. The Government should establish a new Sustainable Development Unit for NHS Scotland and employ sustainability development officers in all Health Boards.

Why the contribution is important

The overall NHSScotland footprint in 2004 was estimated to be 2.63MtCO2, representing 3.6% of Scotland’s total carbon footprint and 23% of Scotland’s public sector emissions in 2004.

The NHS is a large employer and sustainability development in the NHS at pace and scale has the ability to inspire and motivate staff in what is currently a very difficult time in the context of the covid pandemic.

by Jbredski on October 24, 2020 at 11:48PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 4.5
Based on: 7 votes


  • Posted by LouHastie October 25, 2020 at 08:50

    Love this! We had a new hospital built in our area - really missed opportunities to showcase green build ideas, eh solar panels, green roof, using grounds (& roof) to grow fresh produce for hospital community.

    Also needs a more stringent approach to plastic waste. Plastic has been shown to host live Corona for longer than paper, so let's have a real look at what is required for hygiene - does every item in a patient's food required cling film?
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