£400m savings and emissions reductions for NHS

A new online tool could save the NHS more than £400 million and reduce carbon emissions by one million tonnes each year by 2020, research from a new report has suggested.

The report, ‘Securing Healthy Returns’, published by NHS England and Public Health England, has suggested that embedding new behaviour change mechanisms could cause a £414 million windfall for the NHS alongside the wholesale health and carbon improvements.

By turning to combined heat and power (CHP) systems, the report noted that the NHS could make financial savings on more than £26 million as well gaining access to low-carbon heat and electricity which would lower annual emissions by 3,750 tonnes.

Among other saving recommendations, the report said that £3 million could be saved by encouraging staff to switch to low-carbon transport commutes by using bikes, while a further £37.5 million could be saved by improving patient adherence to prescriptions to cut back on over-prescribing.

NHS’s director of the Sustainable Development Unit David Pencheon said: “We know that the NHS and health sector is facing its greatest financial challenge, and we need to seize every opportunity to realise savings and efficiencies.

“But we also know that seeking financial savings without considering the long term social and environmental implications can be dangerously short sighted in terms of health protection and improvement.

“This report and supporting resources help organisations to identify opportunities that can save money now and have a positive environmental effect – which will save money and improve health, now and in the future. We don’t have to choose between saving money and protecting the environment – we can make decisions that will do both as well as improve people’s health.”

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