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Primary care save 44,000 kg CO2 in first year of new greener schemeĀ 

Published: 23 March 2023

GPs, community optometrists, community pharmacy and primary care dental practices across Wales have saved an estimated 44,088 CO2 this year – the equivalent of four round the world flights, or boiling more than seven million litres of water, by taking part in the Greener Primary Care Wales Framework and Award Scheme from Public Health Wales.  

Launched in June 2022, the free, online scheme is designed to help independent primary care contractors to improve their environmental sustainability of their day-to-day practice.  

Zoe Wallace, Director of Primary Care, Public Health Wales, said: “At the end of year one over 100 practices had registered, including 162 individuals, and as a result of their involvement, an incredible 638 climate mitigating actions were implemented. These actions ranged from installing more energy efficient lighting options to reviewing their choice of business bank. 

We have now relaunched the scheme and would encourage all primary care teams in Wales to register. By taking positive action together, primary care can make a large cumulative impact. As trusted healthcare professionals, our behaviours in a work setting can also inspire others to act personally. If we all take small steps, reaching the end goal will be achievable.” 

Examples provided by participating practices can be found in Greener Primary Care Wales 2022 Yearbook, which will be available via Primary Care One.  

Eluned Morgan, Minister for Health and Social Services, said: 

“Climate change is one of the biggest threats to our health, economy and natural environment. This is why in 2019 the Welsh Government became the first national government in the world to declare a climate emergency. 

“The link between climate change and health is very clear. But while our health sector is working hard to combat the effects of climate change, it also contributes to climate change through its high carbon emissions and waste production.  

“This is why it’s vital that NHS Wales services which people use the most, such as GPs, pharmacist, dentists, optometrists and other local community services become more climate-conscious and mitigate against climate change.”  

The scheme has now been re-launched for a second year and primary care providers across Wales are being encouraged to take part. Information about how to register for the 2023 framework can be found on the Primary Care One.  

A Yearbook has been developed to celebrate the successes of practices involved in the Scheme and contains a collection of practical case studies to inspire others to register and take action.  

A short animation produced by the Primary Care Division provides a helpful overview to the Scheme. 

The Framework and actions were developed by the Primary Care Hub, Public Health Wales, supported by the Strategic Programme for Primary Care and in collaboration with a wide range of external stakeholders. 

Each action has been carefully designed to align to the NHS Wales Decarbonisation Strategic Delivery Plan, the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, Prudent Healthcare principles and the UN Sustainable Delivery Goals, where possible and has full support of the Minister for Health and Social Services, Minister for Climate Change and the Well-being and Future Generations Commissioner.  

The scheme has been developed in partnership with the charity Students Organising for Sustainability UK (SOS-UK) who will manage its use and train Welsh University students to become auditors of the evidence submitted by practices.  

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