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Climate change and the NHS: can nurses point the way to a greener future?

RCN calls for ideas on how to reduce healthcare’s carbon footprint

RCN calls for ideas on how to reduce healthcare’s carbon footprint


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A nurse-led strategy to help tackle climate change is being launched by the RCN.

The college says nurses can be a driving force in reducing waste, recycling more and minimising the carbon footprint of health and social care.

The NHS in England is responsible for more than a third of all public sector carbon emissions, according to NHS Digital.

RCN strategy on climate change

Over the next six months, the RCN will be speaking to its members to develop a climate change strategy. This will include a focus on sharing tips on how nurses can develop sustainable initiatives in their workplaces, and lobbying for more sustainable procurement of equipment.

The strategy is a response to the instruction from the RCN's congress earlier this year that the college should lobby healthcare providers to develop environmentally sustainable policies and raise awareness of climate change.

RCN professional lead for sustainability Rose Gallagher said: 'As nurses we are uniquely placed to play a leading role in protecting the health of our patients from the consequences of climate change. That means doing our bit to reduce the impact the health and care system has on the environment and share best practice while doing so.

'Even small changes are having a big impact.'


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