Newcastle Hospitals raises red flags in annual sustainability report

Newcastle Hospitals is calling for more urgent action to be taken on sustainability in the NHS – with the publication of its Annual Sustainability Report for 2021- 22.

The publication has been named a “Red Flag Report” as it highlights that, despite many advances in embedding sustainable healthcare activity, Newcastle Hospitals has not yet reduced its carbon footprint sufficiently.

Three years ago, Newcastle made the bold step of becoming the first healthcare organisation in the world to declare a climate emergency, publicly acknowledging the link between the health of our planet and the health of our people and committing to take action to fast track a reduction in our carbon emissions.

The report provides the opportunity to reflect on areas of good practice and innovation over the last year to tackle climate change.  For instance, in our maternity unit, Baby Rosie was the first baby born in the UK using climate friendly gas and air. This meant that the nitrous oxide that was exhaled by Rosie’s mother during labour was captured and cracked into harmless nitrogen and oxygen, using a mobile destruction unit (MDU) on trial with Medclair.

However, as the recent heatwave across the UK has shown us all first hand – climate change is happening at a rapid rate and millions of people are now experiencing its effects. The report acknowledges that urgent action is needed to ensure Newcastle Hospitals does not exceed its own carbon budget.

It also calls for action beyond the Trust and reviews the need for more support to address systemic barriers to change, without which it will be impossible for Newcastle, and the wider NHS, to reach Net Zero Carbon.

Dame Jackie Daniel, Chief Executive at Newcastle Hospitals, said: “Our report shows quite starkly that, despite more activity and attention on sustainability than ever before, our carbon footprint is continuing to rise.

“Climate change is already happening at a rapid rate and we know that we need to act quickly to make a real difference. We have therefore compiled a Red Flag Register as a result of this report and given a new mandate to our Executive Oversight Group for Climate Emergency to address these concerns with renewed urgency.

“We also want to sound an alarm across our networks – as we know that without dramatic, systemic, transformational change across healthcare, we cannot achieve Net Zero Carbon, Clean Air and Zero Waste. It is only by working together that we can help drive the scale of change that is required across the NHS system and our wider economy.

“I am optimistic that although the challenge is great it is achievable – with our history of excellence and innovation at Newcastle Hospitals, we can be a significant part of the solution to this global crisis if we all act together and act now.”

Read the full Annual Sustainability Report for 2021- 22 below.

Annual sustainability report for 2021 – 2022
(2.58MB PDF)

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