NHS Long Term Plan

On Monday 7th January 2019, the NHS published its first ever long-term plan. The plan includes the NHS' commitments towards sustainability.

  • A commitment to the carbon targets in the UK government Climate Change Act (2008), reducing carbon emissions (on a 1990 baseline) by 34% by 2020; 51% by 2025 and 80% by 2050. 
  • The NHS is committed to improving air quality by cutting business mileage by 20% by 2023/24; ensuring that at least 90% of the NHS fleet uses low-emissions engines (including 25% ultra-low emissions) by 2028; and phasing out primary heating from coal and oil fuel on NHS estates. 
  • The NHS will ensure that all trusts adhere to best practice efficiency standards and adoption of new innovations to reduce waste, water and carbon, in addition to reducing single-use plastics.

The plan also outlines the idea of the NHS as an 'anchor institution', which is an important concept to promote an understanding of the NHS' contribution to the local economy, society and environment. 

The idea of prevention and more efficient working is threaded throughout the plan, e.g. by promoting earlier detection of illness. Preventing illnesses from happening in the first place is the best possible way for the NHS to become the most sustainable health and care system it can be.

Read the full plan here.


We will continue to keep you updated with what these changes mean in practice - keep an eye on our bulletins. Over Summer 2019 we will be engaging throughout the system to develop the NHS' sustainable development programme of work and implementation plans. We would welcome any ideas you have, and will publicise mechanisms for you to share your thoughts as soon as possible.