Introduction to Sustainable Healthcare

This course is an overview of the relationship between the health sector and the climate and ecological crises. How does the health system contribute to climate change? How can clinical practices become sustainable?

  • Workshop: 6 October (Wed) 14.00-18.00
    • Self-study period opens: 15 September (Wed)
  • Workshop: 11 November (Thu) 07.00-11.00
    • Self-study period opens: 21 October (Thu)
  • Workshop: 18 November (Thu) 13.00-17.00
    • Self-study period opens: 28 October (Thu)
  • Workshop: 3 December (Fri) 09.00-13.00
    • Self-study period opens: 12 November (Fri)
  • Workshop: 19 January (Wed) 13.00-17.00
    • Self-study period opens: 29 December (Wed)

​£120 + VAT | Book here

Book a course with peace of mind: We realise that healthcare workers may have to change their plans at short notice. If you are unable to attend a workshop, we can offer you a workshop at a later date for no charge. We can also offer a refund as long as you cancel before the course opens for self-study, which is 3 weeks before the workshop. There will be an admin fee of £30 for refunds.

Course description

Sustainable healthcare can be described as care that is delivered in a way that does not adversely affect the health of the population, and does not use resources in a way that prevents tomorrow's health professionals from providing care.

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.

Using case studies from the NHS,  you will gain a foundation for work in your area and prepare for more specialized issues in the advanced courses.  The course is made up of a 4-6-hours interactive self-study online module and a 4-hour workshop.

It is intended for as an 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:

  1. Describe the links between disruption of the earth’s natural systems and human health
  2. Apply the principles of sustainable development to the health sector
  3. Identify components of effective sustainable practice in clinical care and facilities management in your setting


Part I.  Self-study online

All course content is presented in the online module.  You will need about 4-6 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 and Net Zero NHS
  3. The principles of sustainable healthcare and sustainable quality improvement in medicine, nursing, midwifery, and the allied health professions
  4. Green space and health
  5. Case studies: eye care, kidney care, mental health, ambulance care
  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 my work for greater impact and have been directed towards lots of useful information sources and initiatives"

"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 Stancliffe, Founder and Director

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).

Dr Rosie Spooner 

Rosie is a Paediatric Trainee (St5) in Severn Deanery who has taken up the post of QI Education Fellow at CSH from 2020-2021, working with universities and postgraduate education programmes to support the integration of sustainable healthcare into Quality Improvement teaching. She comes from a background in environmental activism, successfully lobbying the RCPCH to declare a climate emergency and previously established a hospital allotment society whilst a medical student in London.

Stefi Barna, Education Director

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.

heyley bioDr Hayley Pinto, Education and Training Lead

Hayley was a lead consultant addiction psychiatrist with nearly 30 yrs experience in the NHS and publicly funded services.  She is a medical educator, and currently senior honorary lecturer at the University of East Anglia, and has been involved in climate education, outreach, and activism for several years. Hayley also has a degree in psychology and completed general practice training before pursuing a career in psychiatry. 

About CSH

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.