Safety For All – Sustainability Webinar Summary
The healthcare sector is responsible for almost 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions and has a carbon footprint equivalent to 514 coal-fired power plants. Healthcare is one of the most significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and there are steps which healthcare professionals and organisations can and should be taking to tackle this issue. In 2020, the NHS set out a bold ambition to become the world’s first carbon net zero national health system by 2045.
On 15th November, the Safety For All (SFA) campaign hosted a webinar on healthcare sustainability. Attendees had the opportunity to listen to speakers from the ABHI Sustainability Group and the Sustainable Healthcare Coalition, who discussed the importance of evaluating healthcare sustainability on a macro and micro scale, from medical equipment production to patient travel.
The webinar was opened by Charlie Bohan-Hurst from the Safer Healthcare & Biosafety Network who provided a summary of the SFA and the importance of sustainability before introducing Michelle Sullivan, Head of Public Affairs at Boston Scientific UK & Ireland and Chair of the ABHI.
Michelle’s presentation outlined where risks lie in current healthcare practices and methods to support the move towards net zero healthcare. She started with a confronting summary of the major contributors to healthcare waste and considerations before highlighting the methods Boston Scientific are adopting to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. She noted healthcare systems need to find sustainable ways to balance health of populations as well as the health of individuals. She concluded by calling on a system-wide agreed approach to reduce carbon emissions.
The second presentation was led by Fiona Adshead, Chair of the Sustainable Healthcare Coalition. Fiona started the presentation with an overview of how climate change and healthcare are linked, explaining the benefits of shared solutions. The presentation went on to emphasise the need to assess each link in the healthcare supply chain, noting that sustainable practices can have a positive knock-on effect. Fiona finished the presentation with a summary of how the Sustainable Healthcare Coalition are working to solve some of the problems associated with achieving net zero healthcare, especially regarding the consistency of measurement.
The webinar concluded with a Q&A from attendees to our guest speakers. The SFA campaign is planning to continue their webinar series in 2024.