AHSN to deliver virtual sessions on best practice for NHS ‘Net Zero’ ambitions

The Academic Health Sciences Network (AHSN) is focusing on sharing best practice with organisations to help achieve the NHS’s ambition of becoming a ‘Net Zero’ health service.

Today, the network has been hosting its first virtual session, entitled ‘Sharing best practice and innovation to deliver a Net Zero NHS’, in which it talks about green initiatives, using real-world examples such as Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospital’s “environmental sustainability strategy and culture”.

The introductory event, which also explains how the AHSN and the Greener NHS Team can support staff and organisations that have innovations and ideas, is one of a series of forthcoming “sharing and learning” sessions led by the AHSN Network Environmental Sustainability Community of Interest.

The Community of Interest was formed in 2020 to allow members across the network to share best practice and create a shared strategy.

It’s hoped these and similar events will help to support the delivery of a Net Zero NHS, as outlined in the 2020 report, and be of interest to trusts and ICSs wanting to develop their own environmental sustainability strategies.

In a recent blog post, Kathy Scott, Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Executive at Yorkshire and Humber AHSN, outlined how health innovation can play a part in combating climate change and also explained how she hopes to see more shared learning in this area.

Kathy, who is also chairing the latest Community of Interest event, said: “As the biggest employer in Britain, the NHS contributes to the equivalent of 4% of England’s total carbon footprint.

“As a huge entity, the NHS has an important responsibility, but this isn’t the only factor that makes this a health issue. The effects of climate change caused by carbon emissions such as air pollution, increasing allergens, extreme heat, water quality impacts, to name a few, can exacerbate long term conditions and lead to poor mental health.”

Explaining why innovation is important in this area, she added: “Innovation is all about change and if we are going to address this massive issue, we need to bring about change in the way we think and operate.”

On the upcoming series of events, Kathy also commented: “We want to encourage industry and the health and care system to ‘think green’ and hope to facilitate even greater shared learning in this area.

“To support shared learning across the system, we are hosting a series of online events focused on sustainability in health and care.”

Work over the past 12 months includes addressing the issues of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) plastic waste. Wessex and Oxford AHSNs kick started an initiative that led to the identification of a method of PPE decontamination, which has resulted in real-world testing and interest from trusts.

While Yorkshire and Humber AHSN has tackled sustainability within innovation, introducing its green accelerator programme ‘Propel@YH Net Zero’, to support SMEs that can contribute innovations to help achieve Net Zero or make existing ideas and products more sustainable.

For more information, and to find out about future events, visit ahsnnetwork.com.