The following sections expand on the environmental sustainability area of focus questions in the AHPs Deliver Strategy Implementation Framework and provide further resources and links to explore for various levels.
How you can make a positive impact towards net zero
The Greener AHP Hub has provided examples of what good might look like for a Greener AHP, a summary of which is listed below. These have been broadly categorised by the level at which an AHP might choose to use their influence to achieve them
As an individual
- If you are already taking steps to reduce your environmental impact in your personal life, seek to take that same approach in your work life
- Develop and read information which will equip you to identify changes in clinical practice to reduce the environmental impact of care.
- Recognise and champion the importance of small everyday actions that together will have a significant net effect
- Embed public health and prevention (and therefore environmental sustainability) in your existing interventions e.g., through Making Every Contact Count
- Be a champion for electronic records and zero-paper approaches
- Support the NHS single use plastic pledge
- Be a leader on sustainability within your service; identify and highlight opportunities for change and support awareness raising.
- Take opportunities to engage with sustainability, such as Green Champion networks or your service’s sustainability strategy, CSH Networks for clinical specialities, or the Greener NHS Community and their member space on FutureNHS
- Embed good digital practice learned during the COVID-19 period and exploit digital capabilities to support more carbon efficient ways of working, ensuring that digital methods of communication are used where possible
- Reduce the carbon impact of digital methods of communication, for example by only sending necessary emails and keeping the size of attachments and copy lists as small as possible
- Use remote consultation and monitoring where appropriate so that people make only essential trips to give and receive care.
As a team
- Evaluate and model interventions to identify which has the least environmental impact whilst continuing to provide the best care
- Frame remote, digital or telehealth interventions in terms of improved environmental sustainability as well as access and patient experience
- Review pathways and interventions so that you can intervene as early as possible and prevent occurrence of ill health or deterioration of health’ thereby reducing preventable healthcare requirements
- Where possible, utilise the tendering process to account for environmental impact, reuse, recycling and disposal
- Ensure good practice in terms of equipment use, explore ways of extending the lifespan of digital technology or ensuring its appropriate recycling/reuse
- Encourage the reuse of prescribed equipment and the reduction and recycling of single use items and food products (for example in the walking aid playbook)
- Seek to play an active role in reducing food and plate waste including actively supporting “assisted mealtimes” rather than just “protected mealtimes”
- Engage with SusQI and share your case studies.
At a service, trust or systems level
- Leverage our strength as AHPs by working with others to take action on environmental impact. Work with other healthcare professionals and act as champions for sustainability within the whole health and care system
- Utilise staff and patient communication channels to promote more sustainable habits
- Advocate for sustainable models of care
- Support procurement teams to review contracts for food, equipment and consumables, aiming to achieve the triple bottom line of health and social benefits, financial savings and environmental benefits
- Consider sustainability in the business case, approvals or design process for digital or technology designs/project
- Understand the carbon impact of choices on data storage, for example hosting data in low carbon efficient data centres (typically cloud or colocation) and how long data is stored for particularly imagery and video
- Support sustainable choices when guiding decisions about technology purchases for AHPs, for example low energy devices and promoting reuse at end of life to minimise waste.