Health Check 2018 Report


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

Summary of findings

Organisations are cutting their carbon footprint and saving money through increasingly efficient use of natural resources, particularly evidenced in reducing energy and water use, as well cutting waste costs. Sustainable development is increasingly becoming a core part of work. More organisations are reporting annually on their work to the minimum standard up from 69% to 85% and now 45% or organisations’ reports are rated as excellent.

Staff awareness of sustainability is high with 93.6% considering it important however only 71% stated that their own organisation actively supports the environment. Half of employers are encouraging staff to support the environment outside of 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% period 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

National organisations continue to show they are taking sustainable development seriously with renewed commitments and focus. 
The Department of Health and nine major health organisations have reinforced their organisational commitments to help deliver a socially and environmentally sustainable health and care system. 

The national organisations making their pledges are NHS England, Public Health England (PHE), NHS Improvement, the Care Quality Commission, Health Education England, Community Health Partnerships, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), NHS Digital, and NHS Property Services – in partnership with the Department of Health.

You can read each of the commitments using the links at the side of the page


Download the report and the accompanying technical annex below.



Report background

The report published on 1 February 2018 and provides an analysis of sustainable development across the health and care sector. It is the second 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