University College London Hospitals declares climate emergency

The University College London Hospitals (UCLH) NHS FT has declared a climate emergency at their hospitals and has outlined new initiatives to build on their green plan released last year.  

UCLH will continue to work with Camden Council to encourage staff to walk, cycle or use public transport to contribute to reducing their carbon footprint. 17 teams have signed up to their green initiatives that reward staff for taking part in environmental schemes at the trust. 

A 10-point plan to reduce carbon emissions at the trust has been established and includes plans to cut energy emissions by 80 per cent by 2025, and for the trust to be the first net-zero hospital. Over the past year, a £2m investment has seen low energy LED lights installed at the trust and suppliers are also being encouraged to switch to electric vehicles.

Luke O’Shea, UCLH director of innovation, said: “The climate is changing and sadly time is running out to act. It is staggering to think that 19 of the last 20 years have been the hottest on record. The NHS creates 40 per cent of public sector emissions, five per cent of the UK total. Spurred on by the NHS’s drive to reach a net-zero target by 2040 and an 80 per cent reduction by 2028 to 2032, we at UCLH have a plan, but will go further and faster, aiming to be net-zero within ten years – by 2031.”

Procurement will also shift to more environmentally friendly methods, with a 10% weighting to sustainability. Desflurane, a gas used in anaesthetics will be removed completely to switch focus on alternatives that are better for the environment, and more solar panels will be installed at the trust’s buildings over the next year. 

An art exhibition that highlights the link between health and the climate will be run virtually by UCLH Arts and Heritage, in partnership with the Healthcare Arts Collective, starting from the 24th of August.