NHS Standard Contract

The NHS Standard Contract 2020/21 is currently out for consultation and colleagues are encouraged to give their feedback. 

NHS Standard Contract is mandated by NHS England for use by commissioners for all contracts for healthcare services other than primary care.

Clause SC 18 specifically looks at sustainable development and can be found in both Full length 2020/21 Contract Service Conditions and Shorter-form 2020/21 Contract Service Conditions documents.

Proposed changes to the full-length contract will see coverage including air pollution, single use plastics and climate change. Links to both documents are below:

Full length 2020/21 Contract Service Conditions

Shorter-form 2020/21 Contract Service Conditions

Consultation – open to 31 January 2020

The consultation paper describes the main, material changes proposed in the Contracts, and NHS England and NHS Improvement would welcome comments from stakeholders on proposals. 

Comments on the draft Contract should be submitted by 31 January 2020 via the NHS England Consultation Hub.  

More information can be found on the consultation page.

The current text, as at time of publication of the consultation documents are as below. The SDU will update this webpage following the outcomes of the consultation and the publication of the final terms of the NHS Standard Contract for 2020/21. 

NHS Standard Contract 2020/21 - Service Contract 18
Full length


SC18 Sustainable Development

18.1 In performing its obligations under this Contract the Provider must take all reasonable steps to minimise its adverse impact on the environment.


18.2 The Provider must maintain and deliver a Green Plan, approved by its Governing Body, in accordance with Green Plan Guidance and must provide an annual summary of progress on delivery of that plan to the Co-ordinating Commissioner. 


18.3 Within its Green Plan the Provider must quantify its environmental impacts and publish in its annual report quantitative progress data, covering as a minimum greenhouse gas emission in tonnes, emissions reduction projections and the way in which those projections will be achieved.


18.4 As part of its Green Plan the Provider must have in place clear, detailed plans as to how it will contribute towards a ‘Green NHS’ with regard to NHS Long Term Plan commitments in relation to:

18.4.1 air pollution, and specifically how it will, by no later than 31 March 2021:

18.4.1.1 take action to reduce air pollution from fleet vehicles, transitioning as quickly as reasonably practicable to the exclusive use of low and ultra-low emission vehicles;

18.4.1.2 take action to phase out oil and coal for primary heating and replace them with less polluting alternatives;

18.4.1.3 develop and operate expenses policies for Staff which promote sustainable travel choices; and

18.4.1.4 ensure that any car leasing schemes restrict high-emission vehicles;

18.4.2 climate change, and specifically how it will, by no later than 31 March 2021, take action:

18.4.2.1 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the Provider’s Premises in line with targets under the Climate Change Act 2008;

18.4.2.2 in accordance with Good Practice, to reduce the impacts from the use, or atmospheric release, of environmentally damaging fluorinated gases used as anaesthetic agents and as propellants in inhalers, including by appropriately reducing the proportion of desflurane to sevoflurane used in surgery to less than 20% by volume, through clinically appropriate prescribing of lower greenhouse gas emitting inhalers, and the appropriate disposal of inhalers; and

18.4.2.3 to adapt the Provider’s Premises and the manner in which Services are delivered to mitigate risks associated with climate change and severe weather;

18.4.3 single use plastic products and waste, and specifically how it will with effect from 1 April 2020 cease use at the Provider’s Premises of single use plastic straws and stirrers unless there is clinical need to do so for medical purposes, as would be permitted by the draft Environmental Protection (Plastic Straws, Cotton Buds and Stirrers) (England) Regulations 2020, if enacted, and by no later than 31 March 2021 take action:

18.4.3.1 to reduce waste and water usage through best practice efficiency standards and adoption of new innovations; and

18.4.3.2 to reduce avoidable use of single use plastic products, including by signing up to and observing the Plastics Pledge; 

18.4.3.3    so far as clinically appropriate, to cease use at the Provider’s Premises of single-use plastic cutlery, plates or single-use cups made of expanded polystyrene or oxo-degradable plastics; 

18.4.3.4 to reduce the use at the Provider’s Premises of single-use plastic food and beverage containers, cups, covers and lids; 

18.4.3.5 to make provision with a view to maximizing the rate of return of walking aids for re-use or recycling, and must implement those plans diligently.

18.5 The Provider must, in performing its obligations under this Contract, give due regard to the potential to secure wider social, economic and environmental benefits for the local community and population in its purchase and specification of products and services, and must discuss and seek to agree with the Co-ordinating Commissioner, and review on an annual basis, which impacts it will prioritise for action.


Shorter-form

SC18 Sustainable Development

18.1 In performing its obligations under this Contract the Provider must take all reasonable steps to minimise its adverse impact on the environment. The Provider must demonstrate to the Co-ordinating Commissioner how it will, by 31 March 2021, contribute towards a “Green NHS” with regard to NHS Long Term Plan commitments by taking specific actions and making appropriate adaptations with the aim of reducing air pollution, mitigating the impact of climate change and severe weather, reducing use of single use plastics and reducing waste and water usage.