Westminster Health Forum

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A net-zero NHS - next steps for reducing emissions across the organisation, waste management, and sustainability in healthcare innovation

April 2021

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***
This conference focuses on implementing environmental and net-zero targets in the NHS.

Delegates will discuss priorities for policy and health systems - as well as the opportunities that the pathway to sustainability presents for improving the delivery of care.

As well as the health and social care White Paper, the conference follows the Delivering a net-zero NHS report, produced to inform the way forward for the For a Greener NHS campaign with aims for:

  • emissions controlled directly by the NHS to be net-zero by 2040 - with an ambition to achieve an 80% reduction by 2028 to 2032
  • emissions influenced by the NHS to become net-zero by 2045

We expect latest thinking on best practice and the strategic steps for moving towards net-zero emissions targets, implementation issues, and what early action is required if the initial 80% reduction target by 2032 is to be met.

Areas for discussion include:

  • the NHS estate - looking at ways in which efficiencies can be made and the new Net-Zero Carbon Hospital Standard
  • innovation and technology - assessing progress made, and learning from the NHS’ enhanced use of technology as a result of COVID-19
  • the workforce - how they can be best supported to deliver net-zero care
  • new models of care - achieving environmental sustainability at a local level, and how net-zero targets fit with the NHS Long Term Plan

Stakeholders at this conference will consider the issues alongside key policy officials, with representatives already due to attend from the DHSC; the Cabinet Office; the Crown Commercial Service; Defra, the DfIT; the NAO; and the Welsh Government.

The agenda:

  • Priorities for delivering net-zero commitments and environmental sustainability in the NHS
  • Interventions for improving carbon reduction across the value chain
  • Next steps for reducing emissions across the NHS - efficiencies through the estate, delivery of care closer to home, a green ambulance service, and workforce training
  • Next steps for developing decarbonised healthcare systems in Europe
  • Implementing sustainable healthcare improvements - research, innovation and assessing the latest technology
  • The clean air triple win: the role of the health sector in tackling air pollution
  • Assessing progress in waste management, tackling waste during COVID-19, improving the sustainability of PPE and the role of procurement
  • Progress in achieving environmental sustainability at a local system level and priorities for the future
  • Evidence-based guidelines and improving sustainable healthcare practices

The background and relevant developments:

  • Integration and Innovation: working together to improve health and social care for all - the Government’s White Paper, with proposals to reform integrated care systems, introduce new models of care and improve efficiencies of NHS resources
  • the Delivering a net-zero NHS report and the ‘for a greener NHS’ campaign
  • the Net-Zero Carbon Hospital Standard - introduced alongside the net-zero hospital building programme in the Government’s Health Infrastructure Plan
  • the NHS Long Term Plan - with health and environment targets aimed at improving sustainability and reducing waste and emissions, as well as delivering new models of care
  • NHS bids to cut up to 100 million plastic straws, cups and cutlery from hospitals - in line with national restrictions coming into force
  • NHS trusts and local health systems declaring a climate emergency in different areas around the country
  • The Personal Protective Equipment Strategy - with plans to look into the reuse of PPE and making PPE more sustainable
  • An energy roadmap for delivering net zero carbon emissions by 2040 - a guide commissioned by IHEEM and HEFMA with The Carbon and Energy Fund, available from March 2021 and reviewed by experts in the NHS, which outlines steps to meet net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, as well as strategies for the future

Areas for discussion:

Reducing emissions across the NHS:

  • the NHS estate:
    • key issues for implementation - including opportunities for efficiencies through heating and lighting, progress in waste management, and the Government’s hospital construction programme
    • the White Paper - considering the implications of reforms it sets out, and the impact of planned integration in supporting the delivery of efficiencies throughout the NHS
  • a green ambulance service:
    • next steps for development - and the practicalities of meeting targets for a net-zero fleet by 2032
    • how the ambulance service will need to adapt in line with the Government’s wider environmental targets such as clean air zones in cities, with the potential for a net-zero ambulance fleet in London by the autumn
  • NHS 111 urgent care - and progress in preventing unnecessary trips to A&E and keeping care close to the community
  • the workforce - how can they best be supported to deliver net-zero care through training, promoting engagement at all levels and roles within the NHS, and net-zero leads within NHS organisations to instil net-zero commitments as part of daily responsibilities.
  • new models of care - achieving environmental sustainability at the local system level, and utilising new system-level working and the integration of care, as proposed in the White Paper, as well as new models in which it is brought closer to the community and home
  • COVID-19 - the impact on efforts to meet environmental targets, and the way forward for normalisation and a refocus on the longer-term aims for an environmentally sustainable NHS
  • organisational consistency - how responsive NHS organisations have been to the net-zero agenda around the country, and how to ensure that variation in delivery is prevented, and how to use local organisation partnerships to achieve this
  • funding - assessing the priorities for funding NHS sustainability projects

Innovation and technology:

  • assessing progress - digital transformation of the NHS and the efficiencies being created, with online patient record systems, electronic prescribing services and updated IT systems reducing waste, unnecessary journeys and energy use
  • learning from COVID-19 - development and utilisation of innovative research that delivers sustainable healthcare improvements and enables healthcare delivery closer to home, with:
    • innovation - the pandemic prompting new thinking in care delivery, including areas such as self-monitoring for those with health conditions
    • increased use of telephone and online consultations
    • how to harness these innovative methods and ensure that they provide the efficiencies, sustainability and safety required
  • the healthcare industry - how the sector, including life sciences, can move towards net-zero, focusing on innovative solutions to emissions reduction and supporting the NHS to meet its targets

Prevention and its impact on sustainability:

  • cost-benefit - analysing the return on investment from averting conditions and illnesses and their need for treatment in the first place
  • guidelines and the evidence base - what is needed to support both the preventative approach to healthcare as well as a reduction of emissions and improved environmental sustainability
  • investment priorities - how preventative healthcare can best be supported, and the key aspects this support should be focused on to achieve the early changes needed
  • implementation - including how to incentivise prevention in order to achieve the improvements and change in behaviour required to bring about environmental sustainability and improved health outcomes
  • integration - the potential impact of proposals in the White Paper on improving preventative care, including support for integrated care systems and improving the use of population health management
  • engagement - ways of communicating the value of prevention and the long-term financial benefits this provides to both NHS staff and the wider public

Waste management:

  • assessing progress and next steps - waste management and reduction across the NHS:
    • what can be learned from efforts to reduce single-use plastic usage
    • new approaches - learning from initiatives such as the inhaler recycling scheme piloted in Leicestershire and Rutland, to recycle canisters, plastic coverings and leftover gas
    • after COVID-19 - what is required to drive forward efforts in the recovery from the pandemic
  • procurement and wider supply chain - their role in delivering environmental sustainability:
    • priorities for improvement, and the experiences of the pandemic with PPE having been sourced more locally
    • the Personal Protective Equipment Strategy - implementing its aims to improve the re-use of PPE and establishing how to make it more sustainable

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from the Cabinet Office; the Care Quality Commission; the Crown Commercial Service; Defra; the Department for International Trade; the Department of Health and Social Care; the National Audit Office; the Office of Government Property; and the Welsh Government.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

This pack includes

  • Dropbox video recording of the conference
  • PDF transcript of the discussion, including all speaker remarks and Q&A
  • PDFs of speakers' slide material (subject to permission)
  • PDFs of the delegate pack, including speaker biographies and attendee list
  • PDFs of delegate articles