Private units speed up journey to net zero

Doctors can expect increased private hospital emphasis on moving closer to ‘net zero’ in 2023.

More than 1,500 private healthcare sites run by 50 independent providers have now signed up to their trade body’s pledge to achieve the target by 2035. 

To mark COP27 and the one-year anniversary of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN) industry-wide target, a new report sets out the sector’s progress in reducing carbon emissions. 

The IHPN’s document entitled ‘Clearing the air – How the independent healthcare sector is working to achieve net zero by 2035’, shares independent healthcare providers’ experiences in reducing emissions. 

Measures taken include:

 Developing ‘greener theatres’, including the cessation of the use of desflurane to reduce anaesthetic gas emissions; 

 Replacing older machinery and equipment with newer, more energy-efficient kit;

 Making greater use of renewable energy sources such as solar power; 

 Increasing energy efficiency in healthcare settings, including through better insulation and use of LED light bulbs;

 Establishing green ‘champions’ to drive improvements and identify opportunities to further reduce their carbon footprint.

The IHPN pledge builds on the NHS’s target to achieve net zero by 2040. It has promised to deliver a wide-ranging programme of work to support members on their journey to net zero, including around issues such as:

 Sustainable medicines; 

 Developing carbon reduction plans; 

 Understanding net zero and social value; 

 Sharing best practice on how to reduce emissions across their organisations.

Chief executive David Hare said providers were demonstrating some new and innovative ways of tackling the climate change emergency.

‘We know how important reducing carbon emissions are not only to independent healthcare prov­iders, but also to their 160,000-strong workforce, as well as suppliers and, of course, patients themselves. 

‘And this report acts as a marker in the ground – reflecting the work achieved in the past year, but also signalling that so much work still lies ahead. 

‘As the trade association that represents independent healthcare providers, we will continue to support our members to deliver their net zero ambitions and play our part in improving the health of our planet.’

IHPN’s voluntary industry-wide pledge was launched in November 2021 and aims to achieve ‘Net zero for scope 1 and 2 by 2035 and Net zero for supply chain by 2045’.