Suffolk & North East Essex Integrated Care System

Environment and Sustainability

Taking positive action to reduce harmful carbon emissions will save lives and improve health, now and for future generations. By cutting emissions, we can reduce admissions.

Did you know…climate change has been identified by the Lancet as the biggest threat to healthcare in the 21st century?

Within the top ten largest employers in the world , contributing almost 5% of UK carbon emissions, the NHS has a real opportunity, responsibility, and interest in tackling this threat head on.

By tackling climate change we can turn this threat into a health opportunity.  An opportunity to reduce pollution, an opportunity to prevent heat related deaths, an opportunity to tackle the mental health case spikes that we witness after flooding events and an opportunity to improve health and wellbeing by addressing inequality.

As an Integrated Care System we will ensure that:

We work with the all the NHS Trusts across Suffolk and North East Essex to produce a system wide green plan that addresses key areas;

  • Reducing air pollution.
  • Tackling and reducing poverty & health inequality.
  • Delivering NHS long term plan (value for money, staff development, embracing digital & doing things differently).
  • Providing leadership through actions, partnerships, engagement and transparency.
  • Reducing the impact of climate change on population health.

Under new guidance from NHS England each Trust will update or provide a new green plan by Jan 2022.   As an ICS we are already working with our Trusts to collaborate and develop an ICS wide green plan by Easter 2022.

Our plans will tackle many areas from improving sustainable models of care, using lower carbon intensive medicines, how we manage our buildings, how we transport patients, staff and materials to reducing waste. We’ve already started on this journey, look at our case studies to learn more about how as a system we are working to tackle climate change and support our communities.

Reaching the UK’s ambitions under the Paris Climate Change Agreement could see:

  • over 5,700 lives saved every year from improved air quality
  • 38,000 lives saved every year from a more physically active population
  • over 100,000 lives saved every year from healthier diets

What’s the current picture?

  • The number of heat-related deaths in the UK during heatwaves could increase to 7,000 a year
  • The psychological impact on victims of flooding – indeed, after the 2007 floods there was a two- to five-fold increase in mental health issues.
  • Flooding is more likely to affect the least well off in our society – the most deprived 10%, of the population are eight times more likely to live in the coastal floodplain than the least deprived 10% leaving them especially vulnerable.
  • As well as impacts of pollutants affecting the 6–9 million people living with respiratory diseases air pollution is linked to higher rates of cancer, asthma, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and dementia.
  • Medicines account for 25% of all NHS carbon emissions, 5% of which is within our direct control. Inhalers and anaesthetic gases are together responsible for 5% of the NHS Carbon Footprint Plus.
  • Action to support low-carbon inhaler use and reduce use of high-carbon anaesthetic gases where clinically suitable, is expected to deliver a reduction of 258 ktCO2e in 2021/22.
  • In primary care, patients will be supported to use lower carbon inhalers, where this is the right for their condition.
  • This overall reduction is equivalent to taking 120,000 cars off the road for a year or powering 230,000 homes with electricity for a year.
  • Approximately 3.5% (9.5 billion miles) of all road travel in England relates to patients, visitors, staff and suppliers to the NHS, contributing around 14% of the system’s total emissions – 4% of which is within the control of the NHS directly.
  • Progress towards an entirely zero emission NHS fleet is gaining pace, with reductions of 112 ktCO2e expected in 2021/22 as a result of rapid improvements in ultra-low emission vehicle technology and a shift towards greener travel options.
  • This is equivalent to powering 100,000 homes with electricity for a year or taking 54,000 cars off the road.
  • Our healthcare estates & facilities account for around 15% of all NHS carbon emissions.
  • Action to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy emissions within the NHS Estates is expected to deliver a 210 ktCO2e reduction during 2021/22.
  • This is equivalent to taking 100,000 cars off the road for a year or powering 190,000 homes with electricity for a year.

We can’t reach net zero without the support of our 80,000 suppliers. NHS England has outlined a new roadmap to help NHS suppliers join us on our journey to net zero.

Find out more here: Greener NHS » Take action (

National Case Studies
Title Website Link
Putting anaesthetic-generated emissions to bed Read more here
Solar power sparks an electrical future Read more here
Pedal power for cleaner healthcare delivery Read more here
Greener transport delivers life saving drugs and improves patient experience Read more here
Boosting health and sustainable travel in Manchester Read more here
Case Studies – Suffolk and North East Essex
Title Download Link
Oximeter re-use
Download PDF
Download PDF
Kennedy Way
Download Film
Sustainability at NSFT
Download PDF
Further Reading
Title Website Link
Greener NHS & Net Zero Strategy Read more here
Breaking the fever: Sustainability and climate change in the NHS Read more here
Lancet Countdown Read more here
Greener impact for health toolkit Read more here
Greener Practice - a primary care sustainability network Read more here
Net Zero: Making Essex Carbon Neutral Read more here

Last Updated on January 31, 2022

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