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Green Impact in primary care reached 1.8 million in 2023: What’s next for 2024?

Beatrice Anomah
April 4, 2024

We are excited to share the joint impact of our Green Impact primary healthcare programmes, and outline what’s next in 2024, and beyond.

In 2023, over 1,000 primary care providers, including dental practices, general practices, community pharmacies, and community optometric practices, registered to take part in our Green Impact programmes for primary care. These participating healthcare teams completed more than 11,000 positive actions in 2023 through Green Impact, providing 1.8 million patients with more sustainable care. Healthcare teams are recognising that healthcare is a major contributor to the climate crisis and understand that delivering high quality patient care includes taking meaningful action on sustainability. Green Impact is one way that practices and providers can respond to this, benefitting their patients and communities.  

We are now looking to grow our reach and impact in 2024 – read on for how you can get involved!

What is Green Impact for primary care?

Green Impact supports and empowers people to take action for sustainability in their place of work. Since 2008, Green Impact has operated in over 2,000 organisations from many sectors, including education, cultural heritage, and healthcare. It first ran in primary care in 2014 and has since grown into a well-established programme for the sector. The Green Impact programme has three tailored toolkits for primary care, which are free-to-access for providers and aid healthcare teams in making sustainable choices, with low-cost actions to deliver quality improvement, reduce their carbon footprint, and adapt to climate change. They include:

  • Green Impact for Health (our programme for general practices), funded by the Royal College of General Practitioners, supports GPs to green their practice. Read about 2023’s impact in general practice here.
  • Green Impact Dentistry (our programme for dental practices), funded by NHS England, similarly promotes sustainability among dental teams with a toolkit co-created with sector leaders, championed by the East of England Greener NHS team and supported by the Office of the Chief Dental Officer. Read about 2023’s impact in dentistry here.
  • The Greener Primary Care Wales Framework was established by the Primary Care Division, Public Health Wales and is for independent primary care contractors in Wales (general practices, community pharmacies, community optometric practices and primary care dental practices). The Framework has been developed in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders, including professional and contractor bodies in Wales.

The climate crisis threatens human health and Green Impact helps teams understand the intersection between climate and health, guiding them toward sustainable decisions and climate adaptations which ultimately benefit their patients. With the NHS contributing significantly to the UK's carbon footprint, the toolkits support the transition to a Net Zero healthcare system. As climate change is a key topic for many patients and staff, participation from practice teams signals their dedication to achieving ambitious Net Zero healthcare targets and promoting equitable patient care.

Green Impact also offers valuable learning and development opportunities for students, adding social value to the programme by equipping the next generation of professionals with the skills they need for the future of work.

What’s next?

All three of our primary care toolkits are continuing in 2024 and are in full swing! Practices and providers have until Autumn 2024 to register for their relevant toolkit and implement actions, before submitting their progress for an audit.  

We are also very excited that, in March 2024, we received funding from SBRI Healthcare through the ‘Delivering a Net Zero NHS for a Healthier Future’ competition to build on this exciting work and grow our reach and impact in primary care. The outputs of the funding will include a new carbon saving calculator for the toolkit and a free-to-access reporting dashboard for Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) to help monitor activity within an ICB. We are currently seeking ICBs to trial the new regional reporting dashboard so please contact us if you’d like to be involved. This new functionality will give you an overview of the primary care practices who are taking part in your region, as well as any participating NHS Trusts, so you can gather good practice, connect with your teams, and capture important data. We will also be running an information webinar on 23rd May, specifically for ICBs. Register for the webinar here.

Logos of SBRI healthcare, Accelerated Access Collaborative and Health Innovation Network

Get Involved

Read below for the best route for you to get involved in Green Impact in 2024:

  • If you lead on sustainability within an ICB, ICS or CCG, please get in touch with us to utilise our new regional reporting dashboard, and discuss how Green Impact can support your Green Plan action. You can also register for our information webinar on 23rd May here.
  • If you work in a Dental Practice in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland: Contact gidentistry@sos-uk.org for registration information.
  • If you work in a General Practice (GP) in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland: Contact giforhealth@sos-uk.org for registration information.
  • If you work in primary care in Wales (general practices, community pharmacies, community optometry practices and primary care dental practices): Contact greenerprimarycare@wales.nhs.uk for registration information.
  • If you are a student (from any discipline), you can now register to become one of our volunteer auditors! Audits for all our primary care settings will take place in Autumn/Winter 2024, and student auditors will receive free sector-approved training and support to conduct audits. Find out more and apply here!
  • Finally, if you are from any other organisation, inside or outside healthcare, and would like to discuss how Green Impact could support you in a similar way, please visit our website or use our contact form here. We run tailored employee engagement programmes for NHS Trusts, universities, research institutes, and more!

This work was commissioned and funded by SBRI Healthcare. SBRI Healthcare is an Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) initiative, in partnership with the Health Innovation Network. The views expressed in the publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of SBRI Healthcare or its stakeholders.

Photo by D Dental Office on Unsplash