Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, and Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, have announced plans for NHS England and Greater Manchester to work together to reduce the NHS’s carbon footprint and support Greater Manchester’s aim to be carbon-neutral by 2038.

The NHS chief and Mayor confirmed a joint expert partnership board to inform policy and coordinate the implementation of interventions, as part of the NHS Long Term Plan to make the health service fit for the future.

With the NHS accounting for more than 10 billion road journeys each year, the board will begin by setting out proposals to crack down on pollution related to the health service, including:

  • Measures to incentivise health and care staff to use public transport, including discounted tickets
  • Improving opportunities to walk and cycle for patients and staff at NHS sites in Greater Manchester
  • Piloting car-share schemes for NHS staff
  • Reviewing NHS lease schemes to promote low emission vehicles

Alongside reducing emissions on the road, the board will also consider how to drive down the volume of single-use plastics in the NHS, introducing more energy-efficient drainage systems in health service sites and moves to plant more trees on health service land.

Chief executive of the NHS, Simon Stevens: said:

“Air pollution kills an estimated 23 people every week across Greater Manchester, so the climate emergency is also a health emergency.

“The NHS now needs to play its part and in Greater Manchester that means reducing road traffic journeys, more efficient energy use in hospitals, and reducing our greenhouse gas impact from areas like polluting asthma inhalers and anaesthetic gases.”

Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham said:

“Our ambition is for Greater Manchester to be carbon neutral by 2038 and we know that everyone, including the health and care system, must make real change to achieve that goal.

The great thing is that what is good for the planet, like walking or cycling to work, is also good for us and our neighbourhoods.

“This new board will put forward practical measures that will support NHS staff and patients to make a real difference both to carbon emissions, air quality and personal health.”

The new board will include representatives from NHS England, Transport for Greater Manchester and the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, and will report in to the Greater Manchester Sustainable Development Leadership Group, which is supporting the development of the Five Year Environment Plan for Greater Manchester.

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