UK planning to create Europe’s first carbon-neutral hospital

NHS hopes to become world’s first net-zero health service

The NHS is the UK’s largest employer and is responsible for 4 per cent of England’s total carbon emissions. PA
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The UK is proposing to create Europe's first carbon-neutral hospital as part of a £1.7 billion upgrade of three establishments.

It is part of the flagship programme A Greener NHS, which aims to tackle climate change and make the NHS world’s first net-zero health service.

The NHS is the UK’s largest employer and is responsible for 4 per cent of England’s total carbon emissions.

The carbon-neutral hospital is to be located in Keighley, West Yorkshire, replacing the outdated Airedale Hospital, which is over 60 years old and is not suited to meeting carbon-neutral goals.

Brendan Brown, chief executive for Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said the initiative will help fight climate change.

“We have put together a compelling case that highlights that doing nothing is not an option for us at Airedale due to our buildings now reaching the end of their life,” he said.

“Our plans would see us create the first carbon neutral hospital in Europe, directly contributing to local and global efforts to combat climate change.

“Our proposal builds on detailed discussions with colleagues in NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Department of Health.”

The proposal is part of a joint bid which has been submitted by the Act as One health and care partnership that covers Bradford District and Craven, serving a population of more than 647,000 people.

It also includes the creation of another two other hospitals in the area.

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, leader of Bradford Council, is supporting the bid to revolutionise health care in the area.

“We are excited by the proposal being submitted for three new hospitals that would revolutionise the way we deliver health and care while also contributing to our wider regeneration and recovery plans,” she said.

“I fully support the collective bid that shows the strength of our partnership that genuinely demonstrates the vision we have to Act as One in all that we do.”

The government’s New Hospitals Programme has already announced 32 new projects and is now considering the latest expressions of interest for a further eight projects.

A final decision on the eight new hospital plans is expected to be announced in spring 2022.

“We want to create modern health and care facilities that support our people and our citizens by securing safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose hospitals and health care for generations to come,” said Mel Pickup, chief executive for Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Great Ormond Street children's hospital is pictured in London on March 10, 2020. - Great Ormond Street announced on Tuesday that it had cancelled surgery on any children with serious heart problems, for two weeks, after a health professional working there was diagnosed with the coronavirus COVID-19. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

“We are excited by the opportunity that could be presented to us to really transform the way care is provided for our patients and their families.”

In 2019, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust became the first healthcare organisation in the world to declare a climate emergency and committed itself to being a net-zero organisation by 2040.

Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust was the first London hospital to declare a climate emergency.

It highlighted the World Health Organisation’s estimate that more than 80 per cent of illnesses, injuries and deaths due to climate change occur in children, and the trust has created the Clean Air Hospital Framework, a world-first, practical guide to creating a healthier hospital environment.

Neighbouring London hospital Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust has been piloting a daily river boat delivery service to help improve local air quality and reduce its carbon footprint as part of efforts to achieve net zero by 2030.

Updated: December 26, 2021, 9:10 AM