What are the key benefits of Sustainable Action Planning (SAP)?
SAP empowers clinical teams to take an active role in improving the environmental sustainability of healthcare. Many healthcare organisations are now addressing the social and environmental impacts of their activities, but as yet have not found a way for clinical staff to contribute to this. At the same time, many individuals working in healthcare are personally committed to sustainability, but have not felt able to address environmental issues at work.
In working together for sustainability, clinical staff are contributing to service improvement, benefiting not just the health of people and the environment, but also the quality of care. By streamlining services and reducing waste, SAP also generates significant cost savings, typically around £1000 for each employee.
Green benefits of SAP
Health services have a huge environmental impact. The carbon footprint of NHS England was 21 million tonnes of CO2e in 2007 - just over 3% of the UK total carbon footprint. Importantly, two-thirds of the carbon arises not from energy use in NHS buildings, but from the products and services which the NHS buys in – especially pharmaceuticals and medical supplies. So clinical teams taking part in SAP can make a big difference to carbon savings by making sure that these resources are targeted to where they are needed, and not wasted.
Health benefits of SAP
When health services protect green spaces, reduce pollution and combat climate change, they are not just looking after the environment: they are protecting the health of staff and patients as well, since a healthy environment is fundamental to human health. At the same time, changes which are good for the environment are often healthier in their own right – for example, supporting staff and patients to walk and cycle more, or reduce their consumption of meat and processed food.
On another level, SAP also benefits the health of patients by improving the quality of their care. Streamlining services means that patients experience fewer unnecessary steps and less waiting, while staff have more time to spend on direct care.
Cost benefits of SAP
By increasing efficiency and reducing waste, SAP generates cost savings (typically about £1000 in savings per employee in the unit). The same savings can be translated into carbon savings, helping the Trust to minimise spending on carbon emissions permits through the Government’s CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme.