Strategy outlined to make NHS Scotland net zero by 2040

A new national strategy, aiming to make the NHS in Scotland net zero by 2040, has been launched.

The NHS Scotland Climate Emergency and Sustainability Strategy targets five crucial areas for achieving net-zero:

  • buildings – ensure well insulated, efficient and using renewable heating systems
  • travel – low emission, electric vehicles and making it easier for staff, patients visitor to travel to NHS sites by public transport or bicycle
  • goods and services – cutting emission in the supply chain, reducing the goods and materials used as well as reducing use of single use instruments
  • care – reduce the use of emissions from medicines such as metered dose inhalers or anaesthetic gases
  • communities – how to support communities to adapt to climate change and encourage them to make use of the greenspace in hospital grounds

From next year reports will be published annually setting out the progress made in implementing the strategy.

empty hospital bed inside room

The strategy was launched at Scotland’s first low-carbon new-build hospital. The Balfour Hospital, in Kirkwall, Orkney, is fully electric with air-to-water heat pumps generating all hot water and heating and solar panels reducing its reliance on the grid.

Visiting the Balfour Hospital, Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: ‘As we continue our efforts to push ahead with the recovery of health and social care after the challenges of the last two years, we need to think long-term about how to make services more sustainable. With such a large estate, environmental sustainability is a key part of that for the NHS, so I’m pleased to be able to launch this strategy today.

‘Our approach will help us to build on the great work which has already been done to accelerate our efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and become environmentally sustainable. As well as the environmental impacts, I am also very mindful of the recent increase in energy prices, and there is a clear benefit in reducing energy use and increasing efficiency in everything we do. 

‘To achieve the transformational change that is necessary we need to establish a culture where resources are safeguarded and used responsibly. With that in mind I have been really impressed with what I have seen in Orkney. The team here are driving forward innovative ways to ensure they have low carbon emissions.’

Photo by Adhy Savala


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