NHS overhauls sustainability plans

GPs, commissioning groups and other organisations have been asked for their views on how the NHS can become more environmentally sustainable.

Sir David Nicholson: NHS has a duty to be environmentally aware
Sir David Nicholson: NHS has a duty to be environmentally aware

The NHS sustainable development unit (NHS SDU) launched a consultation this week across the entire NHS, to develop a ‘sustainable development strategy’ for the NHS from 2014 to 2020.

Sir David Nicholson, chief executive of the NHS Commissioning Board said: ‘This is an ideal moment for everyone in the NHS to come together to create a far more effective and efficient approach to health and care which is environmentally, financially and socially sustainable.

‘The NHS impacts on so many lives. We employ more than 1.3m people and treat over a million people every 36 hours. Those numbers alone highlight why we have a duty to take this issue seriously and work together to tackle climate change and create a greener NHS.’

According to the NHS SDU, although the NHS has ‘made good progress in reducing carbon emissions’ there is still more to be done to create a sustainable healthcare system.

The consultation asks NHS and public health organisations, local authorities, health and wellbeing boards and CCGs seven key questions to gauge their views on sustainability.

The questions include: ‘Should the health and care system set itself challenging ambitions with regard to sustainability?', and ‘What areas of sustainable development need to be prioritised in the next strategy?’

As part of the authorisation process CCGs in England have already had to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability.

The consultation closes on 31 May 2013 and the final strategy will be launched in January 2014.

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