NHS could save £180m a year by improving environmental performance

National Audit Office claims increased use of teleconferencing, combined heat and power plants, and reduced waste will help reduce energy bill for trusts

A reduction in packaging and drug waste, plus increased use of teleconferencing technology and CHP systems could help save the NHS more than £180m a year in carbon emissions, claims a new report.

The National Audit Office has estimated that, if the NHS improved its environmental performance, it could save enough money to fund 1,400 new GPs.

The £180m figure was calculated as part of a modelling exercise in a report on sustainability and the NHS. The paper suggests the most cost-effective reduction of carbon emissions and costs would be packaging and drug waste reduction, in addition to increased use of teleconferencing to replace business miles. Additional combined heat and power (CHP) installations in acute trusts will also be crucial.

The NHS currently uses 435 million business miles and generates 374,000 tonnes of waste a year. In addition, it NHS uses 34.4 billion litres of water annually, approximately the volume of Loch Ness four-and-a-half times over; and its annual power use is 11,732 GWh.

The findings of the report will be used as part of an inquiry by the Environmental Audit Committee.

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