Sustainability means spending public money well; the smart and efficient use of natural resources and building healthy, resilient communities. By making the most of social, environmental and economic assets we can improve health in the immediate and longer term, even in the context of the rising cost of natural resources, and we can also help protect the environment for future generations.
As an NHS organisation that spends public funds, we have an obligation to work in a way that has a positive effect on the communities we commission healthcare services for. Spending money well and considering the social and environmental impacts is enshrined in the Public Services (Social Value) Act (2012). This includes the influence of the organisation on sustainability, which has become increasingly important as the impact of people’s lifestyles and business choices continues to change.
NHS England has published six general areas of priority for a greener NHS:
- Estates and facilities
- Travel and transport
- Supply chain
- Food and nutrition
Additionally at a regional level, NHS England has prioritised three specific areas of focus for this first iteration of the Green Plans:
- Travel and transport
- Digitally enabled remote working
Supporting sustainability and the environment through our Green Plan
The NHS has a target to reduce its carbon footprint and become the first healthcare system in the world to reach net zero by 2045.
Our aims for sustainable healthcare are already aligned with other ambitions within the ICS, from improved efficiencies in our management of energy through better patient outcomes from refined prescribing techniques, ensuring equitable healthcare across every aspect of the provision we deliver, to the collaborative work we undertake with our County Council colleagues and fellow ICSs across the south east region and nationally.
Our Green Plan sets out our ambitions to help achieve net zero across Surrey Heartlands, making sure we are playing our part for our residents and for future generations. We have appointed a Net Zero Programme Lead to take this work forward, working with our teams and wider system partners to play their part in delivering this plan.
Our sustainability and net zero action plan
The Sustainability Action Plan provides detail on our emerging actions. These will continue to be explored and tested with regularly scheduled reviews, updates and amendments during the coming year.