£2.4million for projects to reduce NHS Wales emissions

Ambitious project ideas to reduce carbon emissions across NHS Wales will be awarded a £2.4million share as part of the Welsh Government’s commitment to tackling climate change.

The National Health and Social Care Climate Emergency Program is seeking to fund projects by health boards and NHS organizations with the aim of reducing carbon emissions by more than a third by 2030.

NHS Wales produces around 1 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year and is the largest public sector emitter in Wales.

The Welsh Government published its NHS Wales Strategic Decarbonisation Plan last year, which included 46 initiatives to help NHS Wales achieve its contribution to Ambition 2030. This will help Wales achieve its total legislative target of Net Zero by 2050.

The strategy included the electrification of fleet vehicles, the use of low carbon lighting in all NHS buildings, the reduction of the use of harmful gases and the design of the future social health system and care to make it as low carbon as possible.

NHS Wales chief executive Judith Paget said:

“As the largest public sector CO2 emitter, NHS Wales must play its part in protecting the health and wellbeing of future generations.

“We can all contribute to this effort by returning unused medication to their pharmacy, requesting a more durable inhaler, or using active or public transportation to get to appointments.

“We are also encouraging applications from NHS organizations for up to £60,000 in the first year for small to medium-sized initiatives aimed at reducing carbon emissions or helping the sector adapt to the impacts of climate change.”

One of the ways NHS Wales is working to reduce carbon emissions is to reduce the use of high Global Warming Potential (GWP) inhalers from over 70% to less than 20% by 2025 .

People who use inhalers can ask their prescriber to replace their usual inhaler with a low-carbon alternative.

Dr Thomas Downs, Junior Physician, Founder of Ysbyty Gwynedd Green Group, Member of the Bevan Commission and member of the Green Health Wales team, said:

“To date, much of the work to make our healthcare more sustainable and climate-smart in Wales has been voluntary, with hospital green groups and specialist green networks being developed across Wales. Wales, as part of our Green Health Wales network. This funding from the Welsh Government will be welcomed as it is expected to increase the capacity of health workers to act and hopefully accelerate our transition to more sustainable and environmentally resilient healthcare.

As healthcare workers, we recognize our human health and well-being, and our ability to provide sustainable healthcare depends on a healthy climate and nature, so professionally, our duty to “not harm” extends beyond our clinics and hospitals to our shared environment, upon which the health and well-being of our patients depend.

Projects eligible for the £2.4m funding must meet the ambition of the Welsh public sector to collectively be Net Zero by 2030 and/or increase resilience to the impacts of climate change, by:

  • Support a communication, engagement or behavior change activity that helps mainstream the climate change agenda within the organization, and/or
  • Drive the implementation of organizational-level decarbonization plans, including funding specific initiatives or positions, and/or
  • Funding for local initiatives or small or medium-sized innovation activities.
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