Sustainability is no longer the preserve of niche organisations; some of the largest and most profitable businesses in the world have identified that sustainable business practice is common sense and integral to their ongoing success. All organisations are required to make changes to ensure the well-being of society, to maintain and improve the quality of our environment and to be financially stable.
Social, environmental and economic sustainability are concepts which are well understood; there is clear evidence available as to the benefits of sustainable practices a mature body of guidance available on how to make the NHS more sustainable and firm scientific evidence of the risks present if it does not change. In addition to this, the recent protests seen across various schools and within city centres show that there is now a strong social movement behind tackling climate change that the government and public sector must respond to.
As a public sector healthcare provider, the RD&E has a conspicuous obligation to society to deliver its services in a fair and sustainable way. The RD&E will lead in making sustainability focused changes and has developed this Sustainable Development Management Plan to record our successes and set out ambitions for the future. Working together we will deliver positive change for the RD&E and its stakeholders and fulfil our obligations under the NHS Standard Contract and the NHS Constitution.
The RD&E has published its Sustainable Development Management Plan (SDMP), which sets out how the Trust will approach its role as a sustainable healthcare provider, making sure that in everything it does the environment and wider society are considered, along with direct patient impact and financial costs.
Their aim is to be a leading NHS trust and advocate for this important agenda, so part of the plan includes how they will work with local partners for broader changes that promote sustainability and improve the wellbeing of the communities they serve, including the commitment to making Exeter a carbon-neutral city by 2030.
Healthcare provision is incredibly resource intensive and it is likely that this will always remain the case, due to the reliance on equipment, drugs, chemicals, energy, water, state-of-the-art facilities and the immense supply chains that provide all of these things. However, the RD&E have an obligation to minimise their impact, so that future generations can also enjoy the advances made by science and the NHS. The SDMP is the Trust’s commitment to their patients, staff and communities to meet that obligation.
This plan identifies that by meeting the NHS Sustainable Development Unit (SDU) targets, there is a potential for the RD&E to achieve annual savings of £800,000, reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by 2,200 tonnes, improve the patient environment and demonstrate environmental responsibility and leadership in the Devon area.
You can download the plan here: Sustainable Development Management Plan.