The Green Plan from NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care has at its heart a commitment to achieve a net zero carbon footprint by 2038, in collaboration with partners as part of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority Environment Plan. By 2045, this net zero commitment will also include the carbon impact of goods and services in line with a national NHS target. At present, Greater Manchester’s health and care system has a carbon footprint of 1,418,840 CO2e, which is equivalent to 276,070 homes’ electricity use for one year. The Green Plan sets out a sizeable reduction of 799,010 CO2e over the next three years – comparable to 155,467 of those homes turning the electricity off.
A reduction in carbon emissions and a shift in ways of working will mean:
- Improved health and wellbeing.
- More sustainable healthcare with a reduced environmental impact.
- A greater focus on the prevention of ill health, lessening the need for healthcare.
- Greater resilience across the system to deal with the impacts of climate change and tackle health inequalities.
Efforts to create a greener NHS for Greater Manchester have been underway for several years. Initiatives outlined in the Green Plan will build on existing work and achievements, to step up activity in this area to go further and faster. This will include:
- Continued expansion of digital technology in healthcare.
- Reducing travel, promoting sustainable travel and encouraging active travel, such as cycling or walking.
- Reducing carbon emissions from existing healthcare buildings and ensuring all new buildings are energy efficient.
- Reducing medicine waste and prescribing lower carbon alternatives.
- Buying sustainable and ethical food, whilst driving down waste.
- Taking an active role in the development of new green spaces and biodiversity.
Sarah Price, chief officer for health inequalities and population health and deputy chief executive for NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care, said:
“Climate change is the single biggest threat to our planet, environment, and the people of Greater Manchester – especially our more vulnerable communities. As the first integrated care system to declare a climate emergency, we have already signalled our strong ambitions in this area. The establishment of NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care provides an even greater opportunity to collaborate at scale to tackle system-level priorities, whilst building on existing local approaches. We’re already making great progress with the introduction of electric HGVs, the expansion of digital technology, reducing the use of single use plastics in hospital catering, support for voluntary sector green space projects to boost mental wellbeing – and many more.”