The NHS has a plan to tackle its huge environmental impact

Posted: February 11th 2020


2050 seems a long way off to me, notwithstanding the scale of the NHS. I wonder if there is not scope for them to do better and in part at least by helping more people, particularly in rural settings, get more treatment at home? This story tells us:

By any measure, the NHS is a behemoth. Its 1.3 million staff are spread out across 1,200 sites plus a further 7,600 GP practices in England alone. Every year NHS-related travel – including ambulance journeys, staff commutes and patient visits – adds up to 9.5 billion miles, which is further than the distance from Earth to Pluto. In England, nearly 3.5 per cent of all road miles involve the NHS. As of July 2017, the NHS dealt with more than one million patients every 36 hours.

All this adds up to a sizeable environmental impact. Health and social care in England alone is responsible for between four and five per cent of the UK’s entire carbon footprint – but the NHS has a plan to push that figure way down. On January 25, NHS CEO Simon Stevens announced its plan to reach net-zero carbon emissions ahead of 2050. It’s one of the biggest and most complex decarbonisation projects the UK has ever undertaken but can it pull it off?