This page identifies further opportunities to help deliver net zero emissions and improve health.
Research and Innovation
The Greener NHS programme will identify and encourage innovative approaches that will improve health with a reduced impact on the climate. Innovations could include switching from disposable to reusable equipment and use of technologies to avoid plastics in medicine supply.
Net zero will be included in the NHS’s research strategy, and will inform engagement with industry, research centres of excellence and other key partners. This will identify and signal areas in need of targeted innovation and help inform the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC).
Investment in our people, buildings, vehicles, material resources and innovative technology will help us achieve net zero. In doing so we can also reduce costs, improve the quality of healthcare, and support the long-term sustainability and resilience of the NHS. The Greener NHS Programme will actively work with government to access and coordinate funds directed towards the UK wide ambition for net zero, as well as working with NHS regions and Integrated Care Systems to explore alternative ways to fund this investment.
The NHS Long Term Plan set critical priorities to support digital transformation and mainstream digitally-enabled care. COVID-19 has led to the rapid acceleration of these plans.
Going forward, changes will require significant infrastructure. While energy efficiency is improving all the time, a rapid growth in data demand and digital equipment has the potential to add to our emissions unless we specify lower carbon digital products and services.
We will work with NHSX and NHS Digital to ensure the digital transformation agenda is aligned to net zero ambitions and work to drive down residual emissions from digital services.
Data and Analytics
Evidence, analysis and data underpin the targets for net zero emissions and wider commitments in the NHS Long Term Plan.
A unified approach to collection of data, monitoring and reporting of progress against targets across the Greener NHS programme at national, regional and system level will support delivery of these commitments. This will be aligned to emerging NHS England and NHS Improvement data and analytics strategy.