Department of Health

Key messages

  • Videos provide perspectives on sustainability in the healthcare system.
  • Western Health assisted in the development of this content.

Sustainability learnings from the NHS forum

On 23 May 2018 Robert Fiske, CEO of the Victorian Health and Human Services Building Authority held a forum with Dr David Pencheon OBE, former Head of the NHS Sustainable Development Unit, Stan Krpan, CEO of Sustainability Victoria and leaders from across the Victorian health system.

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The videos are available with closed captions by clicking on the CC icon in the bottom right of the Vimeo viewer, or you can access transcripts in Word format.

Introductions and key notes

Mr Stan Krpan , CEO, Sustainability Victorian GovernmentExternal Link provides an introduction to the forum, noting that Sustainability Victoria's research that showed 4 in 5 Victorians are concerned about climate change. Even more specific to health is a recent reportExternal Link by the NHS Sustainable Development Unit which found that 98 per cent of NHS employees want a greener health system.

Robert Fiske, CEO of Victorian Health and Human Services Building AuthorityExternal Link provides a departmental introduction to Sustainability in Healthcare, noting the scale of the Victorian the health system and the challenge ahead of us. In 2016-17 its carbon emissions and waste was equivalent to the households of Ballarat and Sunbury. It delivered over 10 million episodes of care and every occupied bed-day emitted on average 120 kilograms of carbon, used 600 litres of water and every patient treated generated around 3 kilograms of waste. Mr Fiske reiterated the role of the Building Authority in providing strong leadership and advocacy for sustainability in healthcare, noting since 2005-06 carbon emissions per meter squared have reduced by 12 per cent and water use per meter squared reduced by 42 per cent.

Dr David Pencheon (OBE), Former head of the Sustainable Development Unit (UK)External Link spoke about his experiences in making the NHS a sustainability leader. He saw law as an important enabler, noted the importance of seeing climate change as a health issue, the need to embed sustainability in existing governance and quality frameworks, integrating adaptation and mitigation and adopting a systems approach. He reminded us that in general executives to not want to break the law (Climate Change Act), the bank (rising health costs), or the contract with the people it serves.

Panel discussionExternal Link

Ms Colleen Gates, Board member, Western HealthExternal Link , discusses three broad areas of sustainability: what we work in (efficient buildings), what we do (sustainable practices) and what we impact (healthy communities). Key messages were don't be wasteful, reduce repeat visits, embed social responsibility in your strategic leadership and culture and make sustainability the natural choice.

Dan Douglass, Chief Executive Officer of Heathcote HealthExternal Link , discusses sustainability as a connection to community and quality of life. As a small rural health service he saw partnerships as essential to build critical mass. As with health programs, sustainability programs need to be evidence based and evaluated.

Julia Trimboli, Group Executive Director, Leadership and Mission, Mercy HealthExternal Link , speaks about Pope Francis's encyclical on ecology, Laudato Si, and how it is driving change across Mercy Health. Their focus is divestment, superannuation, procurement, engaging with their 8,500 staff and governance through an environment committee.

Dan Jefferson, Director, Commissioning, Performance and Regulation, Department of Health and Human ServicesExternal Link discusses opportunities to embed sustainability into performance measures around access, quality, governance and financial sustainability. Potential examples were accessing tests by phone, home based care, packaging of consumables without affecting quality of care, training boards on sustainability and preventative models of care to improve financial sustainability. He raised the concept of care miles and noted the need to engage with corporate, community and clinical stakeholders.

Joe Neill, Director, Procurement and Value Delivery, Health Purchasing VictoriaExternal Link talks about the importance of Victoria's social procurement frameworkExternal Link in delivering social, economic and environmental outcomes. Sustainable procurement could also benefit from moving from shorter to longer term planning and contracting, such as Victoria's Renewable Certificate Purchasing Initiative that has used the buying-power of government electricity, including hospitals, to leverage up to $533 million of capital investment and over 280MW of capacity in new wind and solar farms.

Dr David Pencheon (OBE) discussion with Dr Forbes McGain, Anaesthetist, Western HealthExternal Link , talks about a range of topics and challenges for increasing sustainability in the health system in Victoria and more broadly.

Reviewed 12 November 2023

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