Ambitious project ideas to reduce carbon emissions across NHS Wales will be granted a share of £2.4m as part of the Welsh Government’s commitment to tackle climate change.
The Health and Social Care Climate Emergency National Programme is looking to fund projects from health boards and NHS organisations in a bid to reduce carbon emissions by more than a third by 2030.
NHS Wales produces around 1m tonnes of CO2 equivalent a year and is the largest public sector emitter in Wales.
The Welsh Government published its NHS Wales Decarbonisation Strategic Delivery Plan last year which included 46 initiatives to help NHS Wales meet its contribution to the 2030 ambition. This will help Wales meet its total legislative target of Net Zero by 2050.
The strategy included electrifying fleet vehicles, using low carbon lighting in all NHS buildings, reducing the use of harmful gases and designing the future health and care social system to be as low carbon as possible.
NHS Wales Chief Executive Judith Paget said
“As the largest public sector emitter of CO2, the NHS in Wales needs to play its part to protect the health and wellbeing of future generations.
“We can all help with this effort by returning unused medication to their pharmacy, asking for a more sustainable inhaler or using active or public transport to attend appointments.
“We are also encouraging applications from NHS Organisations for up to £60k in the first year for small to medium sized initiatives to reduce carbon emissions or help the sector adapt to the impacts of climate change.”
One of the ways NHS Wales is working to reduce carbon emissions is by reducing the use of high global warming potential (GWP) inhalers from more than 70 per cent to less than 20 per cent by 2025.
People who use inhalers can ask their prescriber to switch their regular inhaler to a low-carbon alternative.
Dr Thomas Downs, Junior Doctor, founder Ysbyty Gwynedd Green Group, Bevan Commission Fellow and part of the Green Health Wales team, said:
“To date a lot of the work to make our healthcare more sustainable and climate-smart in Wales has been voluntary, with hospital green groups and specialty green networks being developed across Wales, as part of our Green Health Wales network. This funding from the Welsh Government will be well-received, as it should increase health workers capacity for action and hopefully accelerate our transition to more environmentally sustainable and resilient healthcare.
“As health workers we recognise our human health and well-being, and our ability to provide sustainable healthcare depends on a healthy climate and nature, so professionally our duty to “do no harm” extends beyond our clinics and hospitals to our shared environment, on which our patients’ health and well-being depends.”
Eligible projects for the £2.4m funding must deliver towards the ambition for the Welsh public sector to be collectively Net Zero by 2030 and/or increase resilience to the impacts of climate change, by:
Supporting communication, engagement or behavioural change activity that helps embed the climate change agenda within the organisation, and/or
Driving the implementation of organisation-level decarbonisation plans, including through funding specific initiatives or posts; and/or
Providing funding for small to medium-sized grass-roots initiatives or innovation activity.