Sustainable Care Pathways Guidance

In 2015 the CSPM created an innovative set of guidance to allow users to consistently appraise environmental impacts of health care pathways.

The guidance has been developed to enable sustainability to be considered when designing new models of care, redesigning existing models or investigating the benefits of prevention.

Sustainability consultancy Environmental Resources Management (ERM) was commissioned as author and ran a series of workshops and consultations to complete the guidance.

The guidance can be used by anyone interested in understanding the sustainability of health and care systems.  In particular is has been designed for use by:

  • Patients
  • Policy makers and regulators
  • Healthcare providers
  • Suppliers
  • Sustainability practitioners

Main Guidance

The guidance includes a main document providing general requirements and a set of modules for specific activities (called modules).  It includes information on how to appraise the environmental impacts of a care pathway.  General rules and reporting requirements are included along with useful sources of data.  


Specific guidance for key healthcare activities (known as modules) are included as chapters to the guidance and listed below.  The following modules have been developed to date:

  • GP Consultation
  • Patient Travel
  • Emergency Department Visit
  • Inpatient Bed Day
  • Surgical Procedure
  • Condition Self Management

Each module chapter includes estimates of the GHG emissions, water and waste associated with the activity.

This guidance is a dynamic document and will be updated with more modules and environmental impacts over time.

Launch event

The Care Pathways Guidance was launched at an event in London on 19 October. You can view the presentations from the launch below.