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The environmental cost of health care

Published on: 16 December 2019
Published by: LexisPSL
  • The environmental cost of health care
  • What are the highest producers of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the NHS?
  • A study from the University of Cambridge has found that the GHGs emitted from metered-dose inhalers (MDIs) are responsible for 3.9% of the NHS’s carbon footprint and has recommended all eligible patients switch to a greener option. Why has this not happened already?
  • What action is being taken to reduce the NHS’s carbon footprint? Is it happening fast enough?
  • What are the main barriers to health care becoming ‘greener’?
  • What can be done to encourage medical staff to recommend greener health care options where available?

Article summary

Environment analysis: The NHS is the UK’s biggest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter, responsible for ~5% of all UK environmental emissions. Healthcare, however, is a difficult area in which to make significant change, posing a problem considering the 2050 deadline for the UK to be net-zero on carbon emissions. Camille Oung and Lucina Rolewicz, researchers specialising in healthcare and the environment at Nuffield Trust, explore why healthcare is so slow to move and what options there are to drive change where it is needed most. or take a trial to read the full analysis.

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