NHS Operational Planning Guidance 2020/21

It is estimated that up to 40,000 people die prematurely every year linked to poor air quality. The NHS Long Term Plan seeks to reduce the impact the NHS has on the environment by reducing its carbon footprint, reducing the use of avoidable single-use plastics, and working with partners, including local government, to tackle local air pollution.

During 2020 the NHS will develop a plan to reach Net Zero carbon as part of the 'For a Greener NHS' programme.

Whilst many already do, in the meantime all systems should have a Green Plan (also known as the Sustainable Development Management Plan or SDMP) and a plan to deliver the sustainable development related NHS Long Term Plan commitments. 

Deliverables for sustainable development include: 

  • cut business mileages and NHS fleet air pollutant emissions by 20% by 2023/24. In 2020/21 organisations should

    - consider signing up for a free Green Fleet Review which can be booked via this link
    - reduce air pollution from fleet vehicles, by ensuring all fleet vehicles purchased or leased by the organisation after 1 April 202- support the transition to low and ultra-low emission (ULEV) in line with Long Term Plan Commitments. 
    - Using the Sustainable Development Unit’s Health Outcomes of Travel Tool (HOTT) can help organisations to measure the impact their travel and transport has in environmental, financial and health terms.  - ensure that any car leasing schemes restrict the availability of high emission vehicles. 
     - end business travel reimbursement for any domestic flights within England, Wales and Scotland. 

  • all NHS organisations should move to purchasing 100% renewable electricity from their energy suppliers by April 2021. 
  • providers should replace lighting with LED alternatives during routine maintenance activities. 
  • all NHS organisations must ensure all new builds and refurbishment projects are delivered to net zero carbon standards. 
  • all organisations are expected to implement the Estates and Facilities Management Stretch programme which will be published by NHS England and NHS Improvement in 2020. This will set out key activity’s organisations can take to reduce the environmental impact of their estates. 
  • reduce the use of single use plastics in the NHS, beginning by signing up to and delivering the NHS Plastics Pledge which commits organisations to phase out avoidable single-use plastic items. 
  • reduce the carbon impact of Metered Dose Inhalers in line with long term plan commitments, including by:

     - decreasing the percentage of inhaler prescriptions that are for Metered Dose Inhalers where clinically appropriate.
     - reducing the overall carbon impact of all inhalers dispensed at pharmacy.encouraging patients to return spent devices for green disposal in pharmacy medicines waste. 
  • reduce the carbon footprint associated with anaesthetic gases in line with long term plan commitments by:

     - appropriately reducing the proportion of desflurane to sevoflurane used in surgery to less than 20% by volume, and
     - local systems and providers assessing the potential to reduce unnecessary emissions of nitrous oxide to atmosphere.

Full details of the NHS Operational Planning Guidance 2020/21

See page 18 onwards “NHS public health functions and prevention” section.