Safety For All – Sustainability Webinar Summary
Climate change has been recognised as the “biggest global health threat of the 21st Century”. 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 19th April the Safety For All (SFA) campaign hosted a webinar on the topic of sustainability. Attendees were given the opportunity to hear from a frontline health worker leading the sustainability charge within her NHS trust and the ABHI’s Sustainability Executive who will speak about the steps industry can take to improve sustainability.
The webinar was opened by Charlie Bohan-Hurst from the Safer Healthcare & Biosafety Network who provided a brief summary of the SFA campaign and the importance of sustainability before introducing the first speaker: Angela Hayes, CNS Palliative & Supportive Care, Clinical Sustainability at The Christie Foundation Trust.
Angela’s presentation set out the worrying landscape around climate change which has been declared a ‘health emergency’ which threatens to undermine gains made to public health over the last fifty years. The presentation provided some harrowing examples of the impact climate change can have on patients and the healthcare system as a whole before calling on all healthcare organisations to put sustainability on every meeting agenda. Angela concluded the presentation by discussing the steps she has taken within her trust and explaining that the fight for a more sustainable healthcare system is something everyone can and should be involved with.
The second presentation was given by Addie MacGregor, Sustainability Executive at the Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI). Addie set the scene around the NHS target of net zero by 2045 and informed attendees that the majority of carbon emissions related to the NHS come from ‘medicines, medical equipment, and other supply chain’ so there is a real onus on industry to become more sustainable. The presentation went on to provide example case studies of how businesses can adopt more sustainable practices and Addie urged attendees to consider how these could become a part of their organisations.
The webinar concluded with a lively Q&A. The SFA campaign is planning on hosting another webinar on sustainability later in 2023.