BMA Report: Climate change and sustainability- The health service and net zero

This report addresses the progress of sustainability in the UKs health services and outlines recommendations for action.

Key points include:

  • The climate emergency is a health emergency: doctors already see the effects of air pollution and climate change on the health of their patients, and if this is unchecked it will have severe and far-reaching effects on public health in the future.
  • The health service has a key leadership role to play in reducing its own carbon footprint and achieving net zero emissions. Health professionals can be important advocates for change.
  • The NHS has made good progress on becoming a more sustainable and less carbon-intensive system; however, there remains significant work to do in order to reach net zero.
  • There are a number of areas where we believe the UK’s health services can develop further, including more detailed carbon reporting, reduction in single plastics use and the decarbonisation of NHS-related transport.
  • The UK governments must play their part in helping the NHS to achieve these aims.
  • The COVID-19 outbreak saw unprecedented changes to the way the NHS works as an organisation. We must identify the beneficial new ways of working that will improve the long-term sustainability of the health system.

Read the full report here.