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Published: 13 June 2023

Becoming a more sustainable healthcare service

Launch of the HSE Climate Action Strategy

We aim to deal with the growing health impacts of climate change by reducing emissions and becoming a more sustainable healthcare service.

We recently published the HSE Climate Action Strategy to help us achieve this goal.

Dr Philip Crowley, HSE National Director for Strategy and Research, said:

“We are delighted to have recently published the HSE Climate Action Strategy. The reality is that the climate crisis is a health crisis and the healthcare sector is a considerable contributor to net global emissions, estimated to be approximately 5%.”

The Climate Action Strategy focuses on 6 main areas:

  • sustainable buildings and the green environment
  • transport and mobility
  • sustainable procurement
  • greener models of healthcare
  • water and waste management
  • adaptation and resilience

Delivering this Strategy requires urgent and collaborative action with staff, service users, partners and communities.

What we’re doing to become a more sustainable healthcare service

Work is already underway to reduce our carbon emissions and become a health service that leads by example on climate action. As part of this work, we have:

  • begun developing an online Sustainability Assessment Tool for smaller healthcare sites, providing support and guidance on energy, carbon, water and waste reduction
  • started to roll out water conservation and waste prevention training through the Green Healthcare Programme
  • put over 100 energy teams in place at our largest energy user sites
  • supported these sites with dedicated energy officers
  • started carrying out shallow energy retrofit and deep energy retrofit programmes
  • applied an energy-efficient and carbon-zero design approach to all of our capital works

Our sustainability goals for the future

Delivering healthcare that is environmentally and socially sustainable will be at the centre of our future decisions, ways of working and culture.

As a leading Public Sector Body, we will align with the Government Climate Action Plan.

By 2025, we will help to:

  • achieve the buildings and retrofitting targets laid out in the Public Sector Climate Action Mandate
  • carry out and review the Public Sector Climate Action Mandate every year

By 2030, we will help to:

  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the public sector by 51%
  • improve energy efficiency in the public sector by 50%

Moving forward, we will also:

  • continue to raise awareness and drive climate action
  • support staff (including current energy teams), service users and communities to act as sustainability and climate action activists
  • continue the ongoing focus on prevention and social prescribing, as the best way to improve patient care is to prevent illness

We recognise and appreciate the important role we’ll play in tackling the climate crisis, helping to reverse biodiversity loss, limit pollution and support the health and wellbeing of future generations.