Introduction to Sustainable Healthcare
Health systems consume enormous quantities of materials, energy, chemicals and water, and they produce vast amounts of waste, much of it toxic. A more efficient health system can make a significant contribution to the carbon reductions required by the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
This is a two-part overview of the field for those who are new to sustainable healthcare, or would like a refresher. It introduces the concept of planetary health, provides an overview of the development of sustainable healthcare, and shares case studies of sustainable clinical practice. By the end of the course you will be able to:
- Describe the links between disruption of the earth’s natural systems and human health
- Apply the principles of sustainable development to the health sector
- Identify components of effective sustainable practice in clinical care and facilities management in your setting
The Faculty of Public Health has accredited this training course for 3 CPD credits for the self-study portion, plus 3 CPD credits for the online workshop.
Part I. Self-study online
All course content is presented in the online module. You will need about 4 hours to go through this round-up of theory and practice. A discussion forum allows you to meet fellow participants and get to know each other's areas of interest and work. At the end of the module, you are invited to sketch out a plan of work that you might want to undertake, in preparation for the workshop discussions. All online content will be available to you after the workshop for an additional two weeks. Topics include:
1. The socio-environmental determinants of health, planetary health and the climate emergency
2. The role of the health sector in climate adaptation and mitigation: the NHS carbon footprint, the Sustainable Development Unit, Green Plans, the NHS Long Term Plan, Greener NHS, Net Zero NHS, and green hospitals
3. CSH principles of sustainable healthcare and sustainable quality improvement
4. Green space and health
5. Case studies: eye care, kidney care, mental health
6. Taking action outside the workplace
7. Preparation for the workshop
“I liked meeting other like-minded people and being inspired, being signposted to loads of great resources, camaraderie, and clear *very* good embedded videos”
Part II. Live workshop online
The 4 hour virtual workshop consolidates your understanding of the course materials. Small group discussions with CSH experts and colleagues from around the world allow further exploration of topics that interest you and tips on how to translate your ideas into action. The timetable includes pre-session technical assistance and networking, followed by a review of the self-study material review with Q&A. In breakout groups you will then share your ideas for a sustainability intervention in your setting and make plans to address it, using the range of resources, tools and methods developed by CSH and partners.
"Inspirational and reassuring to hear everyone else’s actions and sense of urgency. On a practical level, I feel more knowledgable on where to aim QI work for greater impact and have been directed towards lots of useful information sources and initiatives"
"I found myself getting daunted thinking about the large amount of work to be done, but it was reassuring to hear about how important the individual actions are. I really like the idea of sustainability at the heart of clinical innovation."
Rachel worked on public health initiatives in the UK, Georgia and Kazakhstan before helping to develop The Cochrane Library during the first decade of its life. She has a Human Sciences degree (Oxford) and a Master’s degree in demography and epidemiology (London School of Economics).
Frances led the development of CSH's principles of sustainable clinical practice and the Sustainable Specialties programmes. She has a particular interest in engaging health professionals in clinical transformation and sustainable leadership.
Shashank is a senior lecturer in Education at Azim Premji University, Bengaluru, India, and a PhD student at the University of Toronto. His research explores how higher education can enable climate action to achieve both social equality and ecological sustainability.
Stefi is a global health academic with a background in history. She taught planetary health at Queen Mary University of London and public health at Norwich Medical School.
The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare is a registered charity working since 2008 to help the NHS reduce its carbon footprint. Its is the world's foremost institution for sustainable healthcare research and practice. The team draws on knowledge and experience from public health, clinical practice, environmental consultancy, research and public policy to develop methodologies and metrics to transform models of care. CSH collaborates with partners inside and outside healthcare to engage professionals, patients and the wider community in understanding the connections between health and environment, and to reduce healthcare’s resource footprint. For more information about its work see, click here.