Climate change is a critical health issue; it affects the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat and the places we call home. The World Health Organisation estimates that between 2030 and 2050 climate change will cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year across malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea, and heat stress. Reducing climate change and greenhouse gas emissions has a direct impact on population health across all of these areas and more.
In October 2020, the NHS became the world’s first health service to commit to reaching ‘Net Zero’ by 2040, with a target of an 80% reduction by 2032. Click here to read more about the NHS Net Zero strategy.
This is certainly an ambitious goal and the NHS cannot achieve it alone. The Greener NHS programme creates incentives for staff, hospitals and partners to decrease the impact of public healthcare on the environment.
For example, medicines account for 25% of emissions within the NHS. A small number of medicines account for a significant proportion of the emissions: anaesthetic gases and inhalers make up 5% of total emissions, while manufacturing and freight of medicines account for the remaining 20%. The NHS has already committed to reducing the carbon footprint of inhalers, with a target reduction of 50%. This is spearheaded by the £6.25m Investment and Impact Fund, which incentivises primary care providers to move or facilitate patients to lower carbon options where it is clinically appropriate to do so.
The NHS is also wielding its procurement power to effect change. In particular, the NHS will no longer purchase from suppliers who do not meet or exceed its commitment to net zero by 2030. Suppliers are encouraged toward a more efficient use of supplies, the use of low-carbon substitutes, product innovation, and the decarbonisation of their own processes.
Codepilot has the power to help the NHS and its ecosystem achieve the Greener NHS goals by analysing patient health records, finding low-carbon prescription switches, and presenting primary care practices with environmental metrics. For example, Codepilot can help GPs better implement NHS proposals to reduce the carbon footprint of inhaler prescribing, as per NHS recommendations:
Codepilot is committed to help GPs optimise patient care and deliver the NHS Green Agenda. We must act today to minimise the environmental impact of today's healthcare on future generations.