New resource to help GP practices reduce their carbon footprint

Free online tool launches today, making it easier for GP surgeries to support NHS net zero ambition

The climate crisis is a health crisis. We all have a role to play in tackling the emergency, including primary care. GP surgeries are expected to start measuring and reducing emissions in line with the NHS’s net zero ambition, but until now there has been little support available to enable them to achieve this. Launching today, a free and easy-to-use resource will enable GP practices to measure and lower their emissions, helping to meet NHS targets.

Developed by Dr Matt Sawyer, GP and founder of SEE Sustainability, in association with the Sustainable Healthcare Coalition and Boehringer Ingelheim, the new GP Carbon Calculator will be a free, easy-to-use resource for every UK GP practice to access in their efforts to reduce emissions and tackle climate change, enabling them to help protect the health of the planet, and ultimately their patients.

Dr Matt Sawyer explains the value of this new resource: “For the first time, a practice can measure their non-clinical carbon emissions and have the data made available to them immediately – and for free. This online carbon calculator enables any practice in the UK to measure its footprint and provides the opportunity for primary care to work at pace and scale. The ability to measure a practice’s own non-clinical carbon footprint is a vital step forward in understanding the emission hotspots from primary care. Once the carbon emissions are known, a practice decarbonisation plan can be devised and actions implemented to reduce it.”

The NHS is responsible for around 4% of the nation’s carbon emissions but making changes on the ground is challenging. The GP Carbon Calculator is designed to help support the Greener NHS programme and its ambition to reduce the impact of climate change on public health, the environment and reach net carbon zero, by providing GP practices with the information they need to begin their own carbon reduction journey. Using the calculator will help practices gain points in the Zero Carbon section of the Green Impact for Health toolkit.

Currently, there is limited support and understanding of the carbon impact of healthcare to help those working in primary care to make the necessary changes. Dr Fiona Adshead, Chair of the Sustainable Healthcare Coalition, explains: “NHS staff are often best placed to improve it, and champion the opportunities for change. GP practices play a vital role in healthcare. We hope the calculator will enable GPs and their primary care teams to have a better understanding of their carbon impact – and crucially – what they can do to reduce it, without adding a huge burden to their workloads.”

Uday Bose, Managing Director and Head of Human Pharma at Boehringer Ingelheim UK & Ireland, commented: “We are extremely proud of our association with the GP Carbon Calculator and the Sustainable Healthcare Coalition. Together we have delivered an innovative digital solution to help GP practices tackle the pressing issue of how to reduce their carbon footprint. This initiative demonstrates our increasing commitment to the environment, set out in our Sustainable Development For Generations framework. It’s a great example of how UK healthcare organisations can join forces to collectively address the challenge of climate change. We are committed to supporting the NHS achieve its net zero ambition, which means thinking beyond our own footprint and collaborating with others to secure a sustainable future for generations to come.”

The GP Carbon Calculator is available from today at gpcarbon.org, helping GP practices reduce the environmental impact of primary care while improving outcomes for patients and staff.

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