“It’s encouraging to understand that very often, simple changes can be highly effective.”
Did you know that the NHS in England has a bigger carbon footprint than all the planes departing Heathrow Airport? As the largest employer in Britain, the NHS produces 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually: that’s about 4% of the nation’s carbon emissions.
The disruption to care, and effect on the public at every stage of their lives, makes the climate crisis a health emergency.
The good news is that we can all play a major part in the solution to this; and we know that staff are on board too, as following a survey of 6,000 colleagues, over 98% supported targets to reduce the NHS’ carbon footprint.
One of the key themes of the Delivering a Net Zero NHS report is the location of patient care: “Optimising the location of care ensures that patients interact with the service in the most efficient place, which may be closer to, or even in, their home.
“Not only does this improve patient experience and often offer greater access to care, but it also reduces emissions by helping to avoid unnecessary hospital visits and admissions.”
As countries come together in Egypt for COP27, here is some recommended learning (all freely available on Health Education England’s elearning for healthcare platform), to help you achieve the targets set out in the Delivering a Net Zero NHS report.
Environmentally Sustainable Healthcare
A great starting place to learn about why we need to act now, and how healthcare can have a big influence on reducing the UK’s environmental impact, is the Environmentally Sustainable Healthcare elearning programme.
It explores the impact of the climate crisis on health, from the increased risk of flooding, to the effect of more frequent summer heatwaves, and also highlights opportunities in your workplace to reduce emissions: including reducing wasteful processes, using your purchasing power to influence external suppliers, and looking at clinical practices to find new ways of working.
We would strongly recommend completing the Building a Net Zero NHS module within the programme.
You can also find a Climate Change session within the All Our Health elearning programme, which highlights actions that can be taken to improve health and reduce carbon emissions.
Implementing technology enabled care
- Remote Consultations programme
- Remote Consultation: An Immersive Technology Resource for Trainees
- Essentials of Digital Clinical Safety elearning programme
- Digital Learning Solutions
You may also be interested in reading the latest blog from Richard Price, Global Health Education Technology Advisor, where he discusses recent work to support the implementation of a telehealth solution for rural Georgia. It’s a great example of how we are learning from others as they face challenges similar to areas of England and Scotland.
Enabling electronic health records
- Yorkshire & Humber Care Records programme
- Electronic Record Keeping and SNOMED CT
- Summary Care Records programme
Empowering people to have more control over their health
Increasing the focus on population health
Connecting patients to the most relevant (often community-based) health professional
We’re excited to announce that we have new content coming in 2023, including a refreshed Sustainable Dentistry session, and the new Carbon Literacy for Healthcare elearning toolkit, both sitting within our Environmentally Sustainable Healthcare elearning programme. We will share more details about these as they develop!