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NHS workers asked to walk or bike to work to cut carbon footprint

NHS staff are being encouraged to walk or cycle to work as part of a sustainability drive to help the health service save money at the same time as reducing carbon emissions.

The call comes from a new report commissioned by health chiefs, which says the NHS could save over £400m and cut 1m tonnes of carbon emissions every year by implementing efficiency savings with environmental ‘co-benefits’.

The report, Securing Healthy Returns, produced by the Sustainable Development Unit for NHS England and Public Health England, calculated the potential environment co-benefits of 35 initiatives designed to, for example, improve prevention of ill health and develop better models of care.

Key areas that would offer both cash savings and environmental benefits included: encouraging staff to cycle or walk to work; providing mental health services to people being treated for physical problems in hospital; and increased use of telehealth for patients with long term conditions.

Even if just 3% of staff across England took up cycling or walking, ‘this could reduce car miles as well as increasing exercise and improving health in NHS staff by 114,000 Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs)’, the report said.

‘This will also help improve local air quality and reduce road traffic.’

David Pencheon, director of the Sustainability Development Unit, said: ‘This report and supporting resources help organisations to identify opportunities that can save money now and have a positive environmental effect – which will save money and improve health, now and in the future.

‘We don’t have to choose between saving money and protecting the environment – we can make decisions that will do both as well as improve people’s health.’



Readers' comments (11)

  • Fabulous....excuse me from home visits and I'll gladly oblige

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  • Absolutely I'd happily cycle without home visits

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  • Great idea.
    As above, plus showers at work so I can wash all the s--t off before consulting.

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  • I have cycled to work pretty much all of my working life, apart from hospital jobs when I lived on site so could walk to work. Keeps me fit and saves having to go to the gym.
    I do visits on a bike and much easier than a car around London, especially when you are looking for a house number on a narrow road where you can't stop easily.
    I can see cycling not such a viable option in rural areas though.

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  • If they truely want this, why not make childcare vouchers, bikes etc part of the NHS pensions scheme offering, so that all the employee benefits make recruitment and retention easier and some the the additional health benefits are realised?

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  • I think the NHS managers are doing a fabulous job reducing the carbon footprint.

    After all, there's nothing more effective in reducing the footprint in the UK than driving all the docs and nurses abroad.

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  • My practice area is about 400 square miles of farily hilly terrain. End of story.

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  • Couldn't health chiefs concentrate on making sick folk better (sorry nearly said patients-service end users) better
    You know by demanding more money, more doctors, nurses, porters , cleaners and cooks and stuff!!!

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  • Criminally pathetic NHSE fiddling again while Rone burns....the fundamental edifices of the NHS are in slow collapse
    Worst most hopeless quango in the country...or the most devious?

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  • been cycle to work scheme for years hasn't there. I either get too sweaty or rainy

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