What is Sustainable Action Planning (SAP)?
SAP is a programme to support clinical teams in taking action for sustainability. Structured around two facilitated workshops, SAP helps front-line staff to learn about sustainable healthcare, focus in on their priorities and put together a green action plan. The action plan can then be adopted into the team’s routine management processes, becoming the framework for ongoing sustainability improvements.
Why is SAP important?
The whole point of health care is to make people well. So it is important that when providing care, we also look after the environment, and make sure we safeguard a healthy world to live in. Health professionals are now recognising how vital the environment is to our health. In May 2009, doctors writing in the medical journal, The Lancet, described climate change as “the biggest threat to global health in the 21st century”.
The NHS is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which cause climate change. But many opportunities can only be found at ward or department level: the Trust Board can decide a hospital’s electricity supply, but clinical teams determine how that electricity is used; the Estates manager has control over parking facilities, but clinical teams determine how many patient journeys are needed.
What are the objectives of SAP?
The aim of SAP is to launch clinical teams on a journey of ongoing improvement towards sustainable care. At the end of the workshops, the voyage has only just begun!
- To increase the team’s knowledge and awareness of environmental issues in healthcare.
- To identify the issues which are important to the staff and patients.
- To support the team in creating and following a green action plan.
- To support the inclusion of sustainable healthcare as a regular item in management so that the team can keep improving each month.
- To measure the impact of changes – in terms of cost, care quality and environmental impact.
In working together for sustainability, clinical teams are empowered to explore opportunities for improvements in their service and come up with solutions. They develop a culture that is proud of providing the best care possible, promising “we’ll do it better tomorrow, and better still the day after.”