NHS members can help green the service in England

UNISON is helping work toward making the NHS in England meet its net zero target – and wants to hear from members working in the service

UNISON is calling on members in the NHS to help plan how the health service in England can reach net zero carbon emissions as part of the fight to tackle climate change.

In October, the NHS in England published its NHS Net Zero interim report, which looks at how the NHS will reach that position, as part in the UK’s reduction requirements by 2050.

The report has been developed as the result of the work of an NHS expert panel, chaired by Dr Nick Watts from the Lancet Countdown, and has been supported by UNISON. UNISON has a seat on the panel and has been involved in the work from the outset.

It recognises that, while COVID-19 is the most pressing health emergency facing us now, the climate emergency poses the biggest long-term danger to us all, and makes a strong link between the climate emergency, our health and the need to tackle health inequalities.

The report covers every aspect of health and how it is delivered. This includes looking at:

  • delivering new models of care;
  • medicines and the supply chain;
  • transport and travel;
  • catering;
  • decarbonising buildings;
  • reducing waste.

UNISON has welcomed the inclusive nature of the report, which recognises that all staff – not just clinicians – have a part to play in delivering a carbon free NHS. For example, the report specifically targets estates and facilities staff who have been identified to undergo training to help to deliver these plans.

UNISON has and will continue to make the point that, in order to be successful in delivering a net carbon zero NHS, staff involvement is crucial – which is why the union wants NHS members to take a few minutes to complete a survey and forward it to as many of their fellow members in the health service as possible.

The survey should only be completed if you work in the NHS.

The results will be used by UNISON to take forward the union’s own agenda for greening the NHS, as well as to feeding into the continuing work of the expert panel.

Find out more about the Lancet Countdown