NHS Wales publishes decarbonisation plan

NHS Wales’ decarbonisation plan to tackle climate change has been published, with £16 million being provided by Welsh Government specifically to support the decarbonisation plans this year.

The publication sets out proposals which in some areas will require a fundamental shift in the nation’s approach to healthcare. It outlines nearly 50 initiatives and targets which will be assessed and reviewed in 2025 and 2030.

These are mapped under six areas: carbon management; buildings; transport; procurement; estate planning and land use; and approach to healthcare.

The £16 million Welsh Government funding will help a range of schemes, including a solar farm, air source heat pumps and electric vehicle charging points. A further £21 million of capital funding is also being provided in 2021-22 for infrastructure, fire safety and mental health projects - based on priorities identified by partner organisations.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething said: “Every single person in Wales has a part to play to challenge climate change however this is especially true for the decarbonisation of our health service. The choices we all make - as an individuals, as patients and as staff - undoubtedly play a role in helping to reduce our combined contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.

“Wales’ NHS must act now to reduce its environmental impact, play its part, and be an exemplar in the way forward in taking steps to reduce emissions. With the pandemic demonstrating that rapid and significant societal change is achievable, the goal now must be to stir similar urgency and commitment to tackle the climate emergency. Swift action over the next five years is critical to ensuring the targets within this strategy are adhered to and low carbon must be at the core of decision making. We need it to be embedded into everyday processes, so much so that they become integral to the decisions NHS Wales makes.”

Andrew Goodall, chief executive of NHS Wales, said: “As the largest public sector organisation in Wales, the NHS has an important role to play, with ambitious targets to achieve decarbonisation targets.

“Good progress has been made in recent years across NHS Wales but more can be done. This Strategic Delivery Plan gives us opportunities to look again at building and energy uses, as well as procurement, travel and other emission sources across the NHS. More than 100 industry experts and healthcare professionals have contributed to ensuring this plan is informed, targeted, credible, and will have a significant impact on the future operation of the National Health Service in Wales.”

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