Healthcare delivery contributes to climate change, and climate change adversely effects health.
The NHS produces 5.4% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions; delivery of kidney care is especially demanding of both energy and resources, and has particularly high associated travel and waste generation. NHS Scotland climate emergency and sustainability strategy commits NHS Scotland to “become a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions health service by 2040 or earlier if possible”. There is a responsibility on all NHS staff to deliver these targets, in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Conversely, the health impacts of air pollution and climate change have been highlighted by WHO and are outlined in the Lancet’s Countdown report 2020 on “Managing the health consequences of Climate change”:
The SRA support Scottish renal units in sharing examples of service development and quality improvement that have positive impacts on resource stewardship, environmental sustainability, service resilience, and population wellbeing.
This support will be achieved through dedicated sessions at the annual SRA conference and as a consideration within work undertaken by the SRA QI group.
These strategies aim to increase awareness and knowledge base, build a multidisciplinary community of practice, disseminate sustainable healthcare practices, and stimulate innovation.
The UK Kidney Association Sustainable Kidney Care Committee: high level targets now established for both decarbonization and the reduction of other environmental impacts of UK kidney care. Workstreams include Action, learning and education; Procurement, infrastructure and innovation; and Sustainable care pathways.
Centre for Sustainable Healthcare: offers a Sustainable Kidney care network and discussion platform; training courses and learning resources, and strategic input and consultancy on sustainable healthcare research.
Health Care Without Harm (noharm-europe.org): Mission to transform healthcare so that it reduces its environmental footprint, becomes a community anchor for sustainability and a leader in the global movement for environmental health and justice”; with strategic goals of Circular healthcare, Climate-smart Healthcare; Safer Pharma, and Sustainable food.
The Sustainable Healthcare Coalition. Care Pathways Caculator: a healthcare sector led group that looks for the greatest opportunities to inspire sustainable practices in healthcare through the collaboration of its members; website hosts carbon footprint calculators among other resources.