Transition and NHS Reforms

What is the future of the Sustainable Development Unit?

From 01 April 2013 SDU funding has been provided jointly by NHS England and Public Health England to work across the NHS, public health and social care system.  

In January 2014 the SDU published  the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Health, Public Health and Social Care System 2014-2020.   

We continue to work with the Department of Health (DH), NHS England, Public Health England and other government organisations to consider where the functions of the unit will best sit in the future. The unit is recognised as providing important and useful support to policy making, NHS organisations, commissioning bodies and other government departments.  It also has an excellent reputation internationally.   

What is the future of sustainability in the health and social care sector?

The SDU has already set out the NHS Carbon Reduction Strategy, produced a Route Map for Sustainable Health and most recently produced the Sustainable Development Strategy.Sustainability, therefore, has a growing following across the health system and is becoming an important part healthcare functioning and operations. 

The SDU is committed to aligning the responsibilities and opportunities of sustainability across the different parts of the health system including policy, research, public health, commissioning and health providers.  These bodies will want to build on the important work (and nationally recognised research) that has been done, as well as the research that has been generated.  Therefore it’s important that sustainability and climate change has a clear place in the new system.

Saving resources, improving patient care, increasing productivity and creating a more sustainable NHS is the key to a future proof system.  The SDU is actively engaging with national and regional organisations to ensure sustainability is recognised as a core component of any future health, public health and social care system.

This is a job for all of us.

Which initiatives promote sustainability in the NHS?

Sustainability is as an essential part of health during transition and beyond and aligns itself with the QIPP agenda perfectly.  It is key to a health service that is fit for the future because it creates an environment of efficiency, quality and wise use of resources.  If something is sustainable it will survive into the future and this means the NHS has to use all of its resources (people, money, products etc.) efficiently now.

There are a number of measurements and requirements that help build sustainability into NHS frameworks. These include:

The Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) – the CRC will act as a financial and reputational driver for organisations to instigate further carbon reductions and energy savings.

Reporting on Sustainability Framework - This is an innovative new framework for reporting sustainability information as part of the annual financial reporting process.  From 2011/12 onwards it will be part of the accounts direction issued by the Department of Health.

SDMP - Having a Board Approved Sustainable Development Management Plan is a fundamental factor in creating a sustainable healthcare service.  It is now a requirement that all NHS organisations have an SDMP and progress is reported twice a year.

Adapatation Guidance - Adaptation is key to meeting the aspirations set out in the Climate Change Act 2008 and complies with the Statement on Internal Control from the Department of Health.   Adaptation is about increasing an NHS Trusts’ ability to adapt and change, forward plan and manage risk.

What’s new with the reforms?

This is a rapidly changing environment with the Government listening and responding to patients, healthcare professionals and the public.

The latest information can be found on the Departmnet of Health website including information on a new NHS Forum which has been set up to provide a valuable channel for the thoughts and opinions of patients and staff on the ground.

A helpful video from The King's Fund expalains how the health system works in 2013.  Watch it here.


Find out more about the NHS Reforms.