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Green Impact expands further into primary care with Dental Programme

April 28, 2023

A healthy smile shouldn’t cost the Earth: Our popular Green Impact programme has expanded further into primary health care with the launch of a national programme for dental practices.

Green Impact is a sustainability learning and awards scheme with practical advice for teams who want to improve their sustainability and social responsibility. It started with a student idea in 2006, and has since expanded into many sectors, reaching tens of thousands of people each year. The Green Impact model has been used in healthcare since 2011, and since then has been supporting healthcare staff to learn and lead for sustainability in their area of work. At the end of each annual Green Impact cycle, local students conduct audits of progress, strengthening links with students and their local community.

Building on this work and a successful pilot in 2019, we are excited to launch the latest Green Impact programme in healthcare: Green Impact Dentistry. Green Impact Dentistry utilises a toolkit of varied sustainability actions, underpinned by the latest research, to guide dental teams to improve their sustainability. By taking part, dental practices will be supported to achieve their sustainability objectives, recognised for positive action on a local and national level, and learn about sustainable dentistry.

Why do we run Green Impact in healthcare?

The climate and ecological crises pose a major threat to human health and well-being so it is important to recognise sustainability and health as intersecting issues. Healthcare is also a major contributor to the climate crisis: the NHS is responsible for 4% of England’s total carbon footprint. Some of the biggest negative impacts in the NHS come from supply chain,medicines and chemicals, building energy, staff and patient travel, anaesthetic gasses and metered dose inhalers. These are all areas in which healthcare team scan take direct action on within their day-to-day operations through initiatives like Green Impact.

In October 2020, the NHS became the world’s first health service to commit to reaching carbon net zero, and in 2022 became the first health system to embed net zero into legislation, through the Health and Care Act 2022.

Engagement from all roles and areas of healthcare is crucial in delivering a sustainable Net Zero Healthcare System. Many are aware of the need for change, but without structure and support at work find trying to be part of the solution challenging and isolating. They need simple, effective,easily-accessible information that is relevant to their role, and they want to connect with others who are embarking on the same journey. Green Impact can support this.

Get involved

Green Impact Dentistry joins our existing suite of sustainability programmes for primary care. Here’s how you can get involved in all areas of our Green Impact work in primary care:

·      If you work in a dental practice: Any dental practice (both private and NHS) in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland can now sign-up to Green Impact Dentistry to take part for free. Contact gidentistry@sos-uk.org for registration information.

·      If you work in a General Practice (GP): Any general practice in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland can join over 1,200 other registered practices in Green Impact for Health, funded by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP). Contact giforhealth@sos-uk.org for registration information.

·      If you work in primary care in Wales: All independent primary care contractors in Wales (general practices, community pharmacies, community optometry practices and primary care dental practices)can get involved in the Greener Primary Care Wales Framework, co-ordinated and funded by Public Health Wales. All actions are specific to a Welsh context and aim to support Welsh sustainability goals. Contact greenerprimarycare@wales.nhs.uk for more information.

·      If you are a student, you can now register to become one of our volunteer auditors! Audits for all our primary care programmes will take place in Autumn/Winter 2023, and students will be trained and supported to conduct the audits. You can be from any subject area,although those studying health related subjects will be best suited. Find out more and apply here!

·      If you lead on sustainability within an NHS Trust, ICB, ICS or CCG, please get in touch with us on hello@sos-uk.org to discuss how Green Impact could support your Green Plan action.


Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash