NHS Business Services Authority declares climate emergency and sets to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030

The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) aims to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

The health and care system in England contributes 4-5% of the country’s carbon footprint but the NHSBSA is working to make a difference across the nation, in support of the government’s environment plan.

The NHS is the country’s largest employer. Through the Electronic Staff Record (ESR) system which NHSBSA manages, every month over 1.6 million NHS employees now view their payslip online. Each month the pile of paper being saved is almost six times the height of Big Ben.

Over 1.5 million patients are cared for by the NHS every day. Uptake of NHSBSA’s Electronic Prescription Service has increased by 13% during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has saved an extra six million sheets of paper per month. Over a year, placed end-to-end, these prescriptions would go halfway around the world.

The NHSBSA has removed plastic cards from some exemption schemes including the maternity and Tax Credit exemption certificates; and prescription pre-payment certificates. It is also digitising services where possible to reduce paper use.

Solar panels at NHSBSA’s Hesketh House in Fleetwood have so far generated enough renewable electricity to power 107 semi-detached homes for a year. Other measures including an air source heat pump to replace gas, are also being put in place in its buildings. 

NHSBSA also has an Environment Network, which is made up of volunteers from across its sites. They are there for staff to speak to if they want to highlight opportunities for improvement or want to understand how they can make a difference.

Jayne Bruce, Environment Manager at NHS Business Services Authority said: “Climate Change is recognised as the greatest threat to human health in the 21st Century and we’re already seeing the impacts of climate change across the UK and beyond. We know that a poor environment contributes to poor health outcomes, causing preventable deaths every year. We’ve made great progress at NHSBSA, but we need to do more and we are committed to climate action as we build back better.”

Michael Brodie, Chief Executive of NHS Business Services Authority added: “We’ve all got a part to play, and for me this also links back to our vision that we have here at the NHSBSA, ‘to be a catalyst for better health’.  We have an ethical duty to reduce the impact of our business on the environment.  By operating more efficiently this can give benefits to our business and to the taxpayer too, as often reducing carbon emissions can also help to reduce operating costs. The cost and consequences of no action would be much greater.  

“We’ve already had some great achievements to date that we’re really proud of. We’re reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, have introduced renewable technologies in our buildings and are embedding sustainability into the services we deliver. Today our climate emergency declaration and ambitious target of net-zero by 2030 demonstrate our commitment to action, to step up and to continue making a positive difference.”  

James Dixon is Head of Sustainability at Newcastle Hospitals, which was the first healthcare organisation in the world to declare a Climate Emergency. He commented:

“It’s fantastic to see NHSBSA join the growing number of NHS organisations that are publicly declaring a Climate Emergency and committing to rapid decarbonisation. The scale of the national services that they deliver for the NHS means that this commitment will have far reaching benefit across our health system. It also gives me great pride to see another North East based organisation taking a leadership position on climate emergency action!” 

Sir Paul Ennals of the North East England Climate Coalition added: "NHSBSA's announcement of a climate emergency is a welcome recognition of the seriousness of the climate crisis we all face. Its target of net-zero demonstrates leadership and commitment to climate action, to make a real difference to the world in which we all live. We welcome the NHSBSA’s commitment to the North East England Climate Coalition (NEECCo). By working together across agencies can amplify the impact that all of us can have." 

Nigel Zaman, from the Department Health and Social Care, said: “NHSBSA has achieved some great things in its quest to be a more sustainable and environmentally conscious organisation, through continuing to reduce its greenhouse gas emission, paper use and waste, all despite taking on extra services and growing as a business.”

Contact Information

Sahdia Hassen

Senior Media and Campaigns Officer

NHS Business Services Authority


Notes to editors

Notes for editors:

Contact: sahdia.hassen@nhs.net . Higher resolution image available on request.

The Government’s 25 year plan: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/693158/25-year-environment-plan.pdf

  • NHSBSA is required to report under Greening Government Commitments on a range of targets including greenhouse gas emissions, waste, water and paper. These will follow the net-zero trajectory by 2050.
  • Latest scientific consensus:

–             We have already seen global warming of 1oC

–             Climate Change now affects every part of the planet

–             Climate change will increase the frequency and severity of extreme weather

–     Rapid and steep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions can reduce risks and costs, and the timing matters

–     Every tonne of greenhouse gas emissions matters.