As leaders from across the globe come together for the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), I wanted to share the progress of the network in supporting this crucial agenda, and the help on offer.

Our strategy

At a national level, we’re currently refining our Net Zero Strategy which sets our key aims and priorities to support our innovators and colleagues, in industry and in the NHS, to achieve Net Zero. Identifying innovations which can directly contribute to reducing carbon emissions is a major focus for us, along with building and enhancing our strategic partnerships to see where efforts can be combined for our shared goal.

The 15 AHSNs are increasingly working with innovators to ensure the work they do is sustainable, that they consider sustainability impacts within their product development, and that any new products they are developing will have a positive impact on the environment, which is brilliant to see. As a network we’re in a great position to impact at every level, from supply chain to improved patient outcomes.

How we can help

Innovators

Innovators have huge potential to improve pathways of care through digitalisation and removing inefficiency from the system by using techniques such as remote monitoring, automation and Artificial Intelligence. Keeping people at home, out of hospital and supporting our workforce with more enabling technologies is a positive way to contribute towards Net Zero.

We want to keep working with our innovators so that they can begin to quantify the potential and actual impact of their innovation, along with their own organisational carbon footprint.

We’ve organised a supplier briefing event on Thursday 17 November for the companies currently working with us, so that they understand their requirements as suppliers, but more importantly how to go about evidencing their impact and creating a carbon reduction plan.

If you’re a supplier and you’d like to join us, please contact Emma Whiteman to book your place: emma.whiteman@yhahsn.com

We’d also encourage innovators to contact your local AHSN to find out what local support and help is on offer.

Health and care professionals

There needs to be demand from the system and a willingness to try new ways of working, so I’d encourage anyone with a sustainability challenge to seek support from their local AHSN. To date, we’ve delivered a number of successful sharing and learning events, which can be found on our YouTube channel, which are great opportunities to learn more about innovative solutions.

We’re planning another round of events next year, so please keep an eye out on our channels for details and book your place to learn from other Trusts and colleagues.

We’re working closely with our Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) and have reviewed a large number of Green Plans. Our next task is to work with ICBs so that we can help you to deliver your plans through innovation.

AHSN colleagues

I’m passionate about sustainability issues, as are a lot of colleagues across the Network who have joined a community of interest to share ideas. I want to stress that it’s everyone’s shared responsibility to think about sustainability in everything we do. We can’t leave it to others. Please get in touch if you’d like to join our community of interest and we’ll give you a warm welcome.

Working together

There are also other strategic partnerships we need to continue to foster, including our NHS partners such as NHS Supply Chain, NHS Confederation and the Business Service Authority right through to Trade Associations, Academia and even industries outside of health. We believe that the AHSN are a unique position to bring together a wide range of stakeholders and it is imperative, with a challenge the magnitude of climate change, that we do just that; as this cannot be achieved alone or in isolation.

The NHS, on 1 July 2022, became the first health system to embed Net Zero into legislation, through the Health and Care Act 2022. This, along with continued efforts from the United Nations at COP27, will help deliver critical to tackling the climate emergency – from urgently reducing greenhouse gas emissions through to adapting to the impacts of climate change.

I believe The AHSN Network is in a great position to support our innovators and bring innovation that contributes to Net Zero into the NHS.

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