Healthcare professionals come together for the first BMJ Net Zero Clinical Care Conference
On the 9th October, the BMJ hosted their first Net Zero Clinical Care Conference. Interim Chief Sustainability Officer, Chris Gormley, opened the conference with the statement that nine in ten NHS staff support healthcare targets for Net Zero. Given this support, it's unsurprising that hundreds of delegates, online and in the conference room, were gathered to hear experiences on delivering sustainable healthcare from across the UK.
The fact that the conference is happening after a month of “gobsmackingly bananas” temperatures and in a week where Scotland experienced severe flooding, the conference felt more relevant and urgent than ever. Despite the broad-based support for net zero in the NHS, the reasons behind those attending remained very personal. One speaker spoke about their motivation behind their work being their son and his question – “what are you doing about climate change, mum?”.
Throughout the conference, opportunities in sustainable healthcare for both patients and planet were a key theme. Particularly in tackling health inequalities, supporting patients to remain well, and health creation.
Projects highly successful in these areas included interventions co-designed with patients and where their voice was used to drive projects forward and challenge pre-conceptions. For example, one HIV service demonstrated over 90% support for reducing 6-monthly follow up appointments to annually, for patients with a stable condition. The benefits patients cited were no longer taking days off work, not needing to find childcare arrangements, and spending less money on travel. These experiences were then taken to commissioners and service planners and a more sustainable service model was able to be designed, with patient preferences at the heart of it.
From a sustainability perspective, through reducing travel and use of medical supplies, the project was able to demonstrate huge carbon and financial savings too. The group estimated annual savings of £44,900 and 25,958 kg CO2 (equivalent to driving 74,763 miles!).
At Care Without Carbon, we were excited to be a part of the conference and present a poster on our work in embedding sustainability in trust projects. We look forward to seeing the next steps for the research presented throughout the conference and future advances to come as we move together to zero.
View the full-size poster here .
If you want to become more involved in sustainable healthcare in Sussex, make a pledge on our website!