Care without Carbon on the front line

Claire Jordan, Clinical Sustainability Lead at SCFT tells us how her role as a Darzi Fellow is helping to embed Care Without Carbon at the frontline of healthcare.


Clinical care is carbon heavy

Care Without Carbon has made good headway in reducing SCFT’s carbon footprint, energy and water use, travel impacts and waste. Whilst that is good news it is estimated that 80% of the NHS carbon footprint is directly driven by clinical decisions – relating to the way we treat and provide medication to patients. This raises the question – is there a way we can identify and develop opportunities to better take account of sustainable development in the clinical decision making process? And by doing so can we improve engagement with frontline community staff on key sustainability issues?

In May 2017 I was appointed as a Darzi Fellow to work on this as a project, alongside training at London South Bank University on a PG Certificate Leadership in Health.

Tools for change

careResearching this issue, a common theme emerged, that generally staff within the trust were keen to do more to be environmentally sustainable but weren’t really sure how.

I decided to use the project to create a tool that could help identify opportunities for sustainable healthcare by looking at the three key areas we can focus on to be more environmentally sustainable:

  1. What can we do now to prevent more resources being needed later?
  2. How can we be as efficient as we can with the resources we need to use?
  3. How do we provide the best quality pathway to reduce duplication, and wasteful activities?

A questionnaire based on those three themes is now available which can be used by clinical and non clinical teams to identify possible areas for improvement or development.

It has been called the Care Without Carbon PEP tool – using the initials from the three themes Prevention, Efficiency, Pathways.

Easy and efficient

care without carbonIt takes teams no more than 30 mins to complete the questionnaire, and often the results are reassuring, confirming the good work already happening. Where there are areas to work on, an action plan is generated.

Some of these actions may be quick wins such as having the right waste bins in place; some may be just the beginning of a longer term quality improvement or service development. The key thing is that is raises awareness, and gets things moving in the right direction.

This tool has at its heart improving quality for patients, as when we look at prevention, efficiency and improved pathway opportunities to provide Care without Carbon, we will also be providing an improved service for patients.

If you’d like to use the questionnaire with your team email Claire Jordan at claire.jordan@nhs.net

Or you can download this printable Excel Document..