Health Check 2017 Report


This report is the first in a series of annual publications from the SDU looking at progress of sustainable development across the health and care system.

Summary of findings

Overall organisations are cutting their carbon footprint and saving money through reducing energy use, but having less success in addressing water use and the increased costs from waste disposal.  Progress in sustainable approaches to commissioning, procurement and across the social care sector is more difficult to measure and more needs to be done in this area. Sustainable development is increasingly becoming a core part of work. More organisations have board approved Sustainable Development Management Plans (SDMPs) and are reporting annually on their work.

Use of resources

The results have shown that progress continues to be made in reducing carbon emissions. There has been a 0.5% decrease in the building energy carbon footprint between 2013/14 and 2015/16 which has saved £66m.  This progress is welcome particularly as health services face increasing demand and financial challenges. However, progress will need to be made at more ambitious levels over years to come. Water use has increased by 3.5% and there has been a 9% increase in waste costs, in large part due to high-cost routes such as landfill and incineration (86% of costs).

Planning and reporting

More Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and NHS providers have Board approved SDMPs - 54% up from 52% last year. There has been an increase in the quality of sustainability reporting– with 36% of Annual Reports for CCGs and NHS providers including good or excellent sustainability reporting up from 33% in 2014/15.

Organisations are increasingly looking at innovative ways of collaborating with local partners and the public to deliver programmes and projects that will benefit the health of the public, the environment and save money for organisations. 

National Organisation Commitments

The report also includes - for the first time - commitments from nine major health organisations to deliver an environmentally and socially care system. The national organisations making their pledges are the Department of Health, NHS England, Public Health England (PHE), NHS Improvement, the Care Quality Commission, Health Education England, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), NHS Digital and NHS Property Services – in partnership with the Department of Health.


Download the report below.



Report background

The report published on 26 January 2017 and provides an analysis of sustainable development across the health and care sector. It is the first in a series of annual reports and uses analysis based on a scorecard system. In addition the report also features national organisational commitments and updates on regional progress and leadership.

The content has been developed with the support of the Cross System Group for Sustainable Healthcare, the regional networks for London, the South, Midlands and East and the North - and with the contribution of sustainability professionals across England.