Green Plan sets out carbon reduction aims for health and care organisations in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes
The NHS has commited to becoming carbon neutral by 2040
The integrated care system covering Bedfordshire, Luton, and Milton Keynes has launched a Green Plan setting out proposals to reduce carbon emissions across the health and care system.
The plan is in place to support the NHS’s ambition to become the world’s first net-zero carbon health service by 2040.
The Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Health and Care Partnership (ICS) has been working with partners including hospitals, community and mental health service trusts, councils, and academic institutions to set out how they will achieve their plans for carbon reduction.
And the system-wide plan, which supports rapid action over the next three years and beyond, includes greening the area around the hospital sites, reducing the distance people travel to appointments, increasing the use of online services for patients, and green social prescribing, which encourages people to take up nature-based activities to improve their health and protect the environment.
Delivering on these commitments will require close interaction with each of the stakeholders within the patch and we will aim to identify how through collaboration we can address specific barriers for certain stakeholders and disseminate learning
Felicity Cox, chief executive designate of the ICS board, said: “We know we are facing a climate emergency and we are planning how, as one of the largest employers in the world, we can make a difference and cut carbon emissions to net zero within the next two decades.“In Bedfordshire, Luton, and Milton Keynes, we have been working with partners and large organisations to see how we can adopt more-sustainable practices.
“And I am delighted with how we have worked with all our partners to identify innovative ways to deliver such an important target; in ways that can not only improve patient experience and improve quality of care, but also make a difference at a crucial time for our planet”.
The plan outlines five key priorities for health and social care – start well, live well, age well, growth, and reducing inequalities.
These are underpinned by seven cross-cutting enablers- data and digital, workforce, ways of working, estates, communications, finance, and operational and clinical excellence.
Within estates and facilities, the ICS will drive plans to decarbonise energy inputs across all sites, improve biodiversity and green estates, and reduce resource waste across all waste streams.
And to support digital transformation efforts, it will see increased use of online services, remove paper-based operations, and will integrate sustainability into digital adoption plans.
By looking at how we achieve health and sustainability objectives alongside each other, instead of in silos or in different settings, we will be not only more efficient, but more effective at delivering impact
Suppliers will also be encouraged to embrace the green agenda, with trusts switching to local suppliers where possible and reducing the use of single-use plastic products.
The plans states: “Delivering on these commitments will require close interaction with each of the stakeholders within the patch and we will aim to identify how through collaboration we can address specific barriers for certain stakeholders and disseminate learning.”
In particular, the plan will provide an opportunity to work more closely with primary care networks, reducing the carbon footprint from prescribing and supporting remote consultations where possible to reduce the number of people travelling to appointments.
The plan states: “As we put together our first Green Plan as an Integrated Care System for the Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes patch, we are consistently reminded of the importance of systems thinking and more-integrated problem-solving.
“By looking at how we achieve health and sustainability objectives alongside each other, instead of in silos or in different settings, we will be not only more efficient, but more effective at delivering impact.”