Good Progress in Drive Towards Net Zero

Emissions in NHS Forth Valley have been slashed by a third and a number of other initiatives are reporting good progress in tackling the climate emergency.

The findings are contained in the first NHS Forth Valley’s Annual Climate Emergency and Sustainability report which shows big improvements in a number of key areas.

The Board’s carbon footprint reveals a 36% reduction in emissions compared with the 2014/15 baseline and highlights ongoing work to improve measuring, monitoring and data collection for emissions sources. Other successes include:

  • Work is ongoing to improve the energy performance of Forth Valley Royal Hospital, which accounts for around half of the Board’s total energy consumption, and the ‘fabric first’ approach, which will see a significant sum of money invested to reduce emissions form buildings in the Primary Care estate.
  • Progress continues to switch to electric vehicles and remove all petrol and diesel fuelled cars from our fleet by 2025.There are now 46 fully electric vehicles live within the current NHS Forth Valley fleet, with 15 on order and the remaining fleet vehicles will be replaced with electric alternative when they reach their replacement dates.
  • Electric charging points have been installed in local hospital and health centre car parks and support is available to help staff switch to more sustainable ways of travelling including access to electric bikes and bike maintenance schemes.
  • The Green Theatres Project, led by theatre staff at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, has resulted in changes to how surgery is carried out and reduced environmental impacts. Excellent work has also been done by the team to reduce use of anaesthetic gases and inhaler propellants that contribute to the carbon footprint.
  • A wide variety of initiatives have delivered health and wellbeing benefits to staff, patients and the local communities.
  • Greenspace opportunities are being developed at the Stirling Health and Care Village. In addition to health benefits for patients and staff, investment in greenspace around hospitals and healthcare centres is helping to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss.
  • Electric charging points for private motorists continue to be installed in hospital car parks. Cutting food waste is one of next big targets to be tackled.

Derek Jarvie, NHS Forth Valley’s Head of Climate Change and Sustainability, said: “A wide range of actions are underway across the organisation to help create more sustainable health services. Local staff are really supportive and have come up with some great ideas and suggestions to reduce energy use and waste.

“Nevertheless, achieving these aims will require an unprecedented shift in how healthcare is delivered, and everyone has a role to play. NHS Forth Valley will continue to build on the great work that has already been done, scale up activity and harness the energy and enthusiasm of local staff, patients and visitors to help deliver the changes required.

“It’s important to recognise that many of the actions needed to respond to the climate emergency also have positive health impacts. Cutting emissions and restoring biodiversity improves air quality and can reduce the incidence of asthma, heart attacks and stroke.”

The Scottish Government’s Climate Emergency and Sustainability Strategy for NHS Scotland (2022-2026) sets out the actions needed for NHS Scotland to be a net-zero health service by 2040 with a focus on sustainable buildings and land, travel, goods and services, care and communities.

NHS Forth Valley has developed a Sustainability Strategy that is being updated to reflect the Board’s climate emergency response and is providing annual updates on progress against key national targets. Local plans are in place to address all the national priority areas and efforts to cut food waste is a key target for the year ahead.

Additional Information

NHS Forth Valley Annual Climate Emergency and Sustainability Report 2021 – 2022

NHS Scotland Climate Emergency and Sustainability Strategy: 2022-2026