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News

 
07
Jan

NHS Standard Contract for 2020-21 to set out reinforced environmental agenda


The proposed new NHS Standard Contract for 2020-21 throws the spotlight firmly onto environmental issues. It includes significant changes that providers will need to implement and which will drive improvements in environmental performance.

 

Every provider will need to implement a Green Plan (no longer called a Sustainable Development Management Plan), which must provide detailed plans and actions that the organisation will take towards achieving the commitments of the Long Term Plan across a range of issues, including air pollution, carbon emissions, preparedness of the premises for climate change and the use of single-use plastics.

 

The pledge to eliminate avoidable single-use plastics in NHS catering facilities has already been widely covered. The new contract embeds that and adds a requirement to reduce the use of single-use plastic products.

 

Actions to reduce air pollution include transitioning the vehicle fleet to low and ultra-low emission vehicles, replacing oil and coal with less polluting alternatives, introducing expenses policies for staff that promote sustainable travel choices and ensuring car leasing schemes restrict the availability of high-emission vehicles.

 

Cutting carbon emissions focuses on reducing the use – or atmospheric release – of environmentally-damaging anaesthetic agents and reducing carbon impacts from propellant asthma inhalers.

 

An interesting requirement recognises climate change and severe weather and the need to adapt the premises and the way services are delivered to mitigate associated risks.

 

Reducing waste, water usage, and making provision for the return of walking aids for re-use or recycling are further requirements.

 

Each provider will need to quantify its environmental impacts and publish annual quantitative progress data.

 

Other significant proposals include making the premises of all NHS Trust and Foundation Trusts smoke-free at all times - but excluding e-cigarettes - and ensuring that staff, patients and visitors are offered ready access, 24-hours a day to healthy food and drink.

 

Consultation on all proposed changes is open online or via email until January 31.

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