Securing healthy returns - realising the financial value of sustainable developments

New research and tools for health professionals

A new report by the Sustainable Development Unit for NHS England and Public Health England has calculated the NHS and wider health sector could save up to £414m and cut 1 million tonnes of carbon emissions every year by 2020. The analysis selected 35 areas and calculated their financial and environmental benefits. 

The Securing healthy returns report outlines areas that offer potential cash savings and environmental benefits. These include providing mental health services to people being treated for physical health needs in hospitals, encouraging staff to travel to work by bike or foot and increasing use of technology for communication – for instance between staff and for patients with long term conditions. The supporting technical annex will be follow in July.

The analysis follows on from the Carter Review which identified potential efficiencies in NHS hospitals worth up to £1.3bn and included interventions with environmental co-benefits such as improved energy efficiency. This analysis looks at the financial and environmental benefits for initiatives in areas as broad as prevention and changing models of care. The report shows there are big savings both financially and environmentally from proactively addressing issues like air quality and fuel poverty – which would improve people’s health, reduce inequalities and save the NHS money. To help organisations consider what difference they could make in cash and carbon, the report worked with energy efficiency verification specialists EEVS and sustainability software vendor Trakeo to produce online tools to scale the 35 interventions according to organisation.

The 35 areas were selected based on real life examples taking place at health and care organisations across England. These have been analysed to show the levels of savings they can offer by implementing at a national and local level.

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