Care Without Carbon – creating a greener NHS

“We believe that all healthcare organisations should aspire to delivering care in a way that eliminates harmful environmental impacts and puts sustainability at the heart of the business model” Siobhan Melia, Chief Executive

We take sustainability, and in particular climate change, very seriously at Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust. Not only in terms of how we operate as an organisation, but also in relation to the health of our communities. We understand that climate and health are intrinsically linked.

Care Without Carbon is what we call our approach to delivering healthcare that cares for both people and the planet. It delivers on one of our three strategic goals, to be a strong, sustainable business, grounded in our communities and led by excellent staff.

Through Care Without Carbon we aim to effectively manage our essential resources from people and time to money and materials. This can be summed up in three key goals:

  1. Working towards long term financial sustainability
  2. Minimising our impact on the environment
  3. Supporting staff wellbeing to enable a happy, healthy and productive workforce

We’re proud of our achievements across these three goals to date:

A global and local challenge

We are already seeing the impact of climate change, both on a global level and locally in the UK and Sussex. In particular the increase in extreme weather events such as heatwaves and flooding has impacted NHS Trusts across the country, affecting both the health of our communities, and our estate.

NHS Trusts must not only adapt to this change in our climate, but we also have a real part to play in mitigating the impact of climate change by cutting our carbon footprint, not least because the NHS is one of the largest public sector contributors to carbon emissions in the UK.  We use energy to heat and power our buildings, we travel great distances to deliver our services and we produce waste which needs to be disposed of.

All of these issues result in impacts on both the environment and our people (both our patients and our staff), which we are firmly committed to reducing.