Sustainability at NCH&C

Greener NHS banner featuring NHs nurse and child

The NHS recognises that climate change is a major threat to human health.

Air pollution and emissions are linked to killer conditions like heart disease, stroke, asthma, and lung cancer, contributing to around 36,000 deaths annually. Extreme heatwaves caused by climate change also claim hundreds of lives every year.

Action on climate change is imperative for the health of our patients. And with the NHS responsible for 4-5% of the UK’s carbon emissions, the time to act is now.

NCH&C proudly supports the NHS on its journey to become the first net-zero national health service by 2040. Find out more about a Greener NHS.

Our Green Plan

The NHS Long-Term Plan mandates that every individual NHS trust must have its own three-year plan to reduce their carbon emissions. NCH&C’s Green Plan is part of the Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care System’s Green Plan.

The Green Plan will be published here in due course. 

Do you have a question or comment about sustainability at NCH&C? Email sustainability@nchc.nhs.uk 

Green Plan overview

Over the next three years, we will…

  • Create a culture of sustainability at NCH&C, with a focus on leadership, sustainability training at all levels, and green responsibilities incorporated into job descriptions
  • Prioritise lower-carbon interventions where clinically equivalent, while reducing health inequalities
  • Digitise patient records and systems, providing virtual appointments where clinically appropriate, and reuse and recycle old IT kit
  • Make it easier for staff to choose greener transport options by providing EV charge points, phasing in an LEV fleet, and improving facilities to encourage cycling and walking to work
  • Explore renewable energy for our sites (including solar PV), install smart meters to tackle water waste, improve our recycling facilities, and reduce as much landfill waste as possible
  • Reduce the waste associated with medicines and prioritise the reuse and recycling of medical devices
  • Work towards a net-zero supply chain by prioritising local and net-zero suppliers, opt for environmentally friendly alternatives where equivalent, and prevent unnecessary expenditure and waste
  • Provide healthy and sustainable food choices for patients and staff while reducing food waste and prioritising local and seasonal produce
  • Plan for the increasing effects of climate change by protecting our buildings from extreme weather
  • Regularly benchmark and report on our carbon emissions data to ensure our actions are accurate and transparent
  • Engage and communicate with staff and other stakeholders on relevant sustainability actions within the trust

What have we achieved so far?

In 2022...

  • NCH&C joined NHS Forest: an initiative to plant trees in hospital gardens across the country. Tree-planting helps the NHS reach its carbon reduction goals through carbon capture, improves local air quality, and creates green spaces that can improve patient and staff wellbeing. NCH&C has committed to planting six trees outside Norwich Community Hospital's Mulberry Unit, with more coming in future months.
  • The trust updated its sustainability criteria for fleet vehicles to reduce carbon emissions. The salary sacrifice scheme now only offers ultra-low emission vehicles (emitting less than 70g of carbon per km, while the company lease scheme only offers low emissions vehicles (less than 130 g per km).
  • We started removing food waste macerators at three of our sites (Dereham Hospital, Mulberry Unit, and North Walsham Hospital). Instead, food waste will be collected by Biffa and processed by anaerobic digestion to create bio-fertiliser and electricity.  Together, this will prevent 0.75 tonnes of C02 from entering the atmosphere for every tonne of food waste disposed of.

Between 2019 and 2021, the trust reduced...

  • Its electricity consumption by 296,68 kWh
  • Clinical Waste Incineration by 2.2 Tonnes
  • Alternative Waste by 45.32 tonnes
  • Grey fleet mileage by 723,564 miles

We also increased our recycling of waste by 52 tonnes.

Change comes from the top

Creating any cultural change within an organisation requires the full support of its leaders. 

Fortunately, our executive team at NCH&C are committed to embodying the values at the heart of the trust’s Green Plan. From January 2022, all trust leaders are required to complete ‘carbon awareness’ training as part of our Leading at NCH&C programme.

Members of the executive team at NCH&C are also encouraged to sign the trust's Leadership Promise: a commitment to support staff as they deliver the best patient care. This pledge includes a commitment to "Make time to listen to and act on your comments and suggestions". This includes, but is not limited to, suggestions on sustainability. Staff and stakeholders who have any suggestions on how the trust can operate more greenly are encouraged to email sustainability@nchc.nhs.uk. 

In readiness for the launch of NCH&C's Green Plan, our CEO, Stephen Collman, pledges his support for the sustainable future of the trust:

“NCH&C’s Green Plan provides a great sense of direction for the trust as we move towards a Greener NHS. As a community trust, we are well-placed to contribute to the decarbonisation of our local NHS: community healthcare has the potential to reduce inpatient stays, prevent illness, and promote long-term wellness. 

“Doing right by the environment is also what’s best for our patients and staff. I am delighted to be leading NCH&C at this exciting and important time: I pledge to ensure that sustainability remains an ongoing priority for the trust as we move into this period of recovery following COVID-19. Although the past two years have provided plenty of challenges, we have plenty to be optimistic about moving forwards.”

Stephen Collman, CEO at NCH&C

"NCH&C is committed to playing its part in helping the NHS become the first ever net-zero national health service. Not just because we are bound to do so, but because it is the right thing to do for the health of our patients, as well as the planet. The NHS recognises that the climate emergency is a health emergency, directly linked to killer conditions like heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer, contributing to around 36,000 deaths annually.

While the trust has always considered sustainability a high priority, the creation of this three-year Green Plan steps up our commitment and provides much-needed momentum. NCH&C, as the wider NHS, recognises that we are at a crucial moment for the health of the planet, with urgent and decisive action required."

John Webster, Deputy CEO and Director of Strategy & Transformation