30 April 2018

Breaking the fever: Sustainability and climate change in the NHS

What is healthcare sustainability?

Healthcare sustainability refers to the financial, environmental and social impact of health services. It assesses sustainability based on three factors often referred to as the 'triple bottom line':

  • available resources
  • waste
  • the long-term implications of our current practice on the environment, society and the physical health of our patients.

The aim of sustainable healthcare is to provide better care for patients today without compromising health and care provision in the future. Considering the sustainability of healthcare delivery is as important as considering the financial viability of services. Without a sustainable environment, healthcare costs will rise and delivery will be made more difficult by the changing climate.

What can we do?

Everyone, including physicians, must play their part in reducing the impact of carbon emissions on the environment and ensure that we leave not only a sustainable health system, but also a healthy planet for generations to come.