Published: 8 June 2022
The Greener Primary Care Wales Framework and Award Scheme from Public Health Wales has been designed to help independent primary care contractors (general practice, community optometry, community pharmacy and primary care dental practice) to improve the environmental sustainability of their day-to-day practice.
Angharad Wooldridge, Senior Public Health Practitioner, Public Health Wales, said:
“The framework is online and free of charge and consists of over 50 actions practices can choose from, including changing lightbulbs to inhaler prescribing; from promoting active travel to procuring recycled materials. Depending on the number of actions achieved, practices will be awarded Bronze, Silver and Gold status.
“It’s been designed to be simple to use and we would urge all primary care contractors to get on board and give it a go. It’s the small actions of many that will have the biggest impact on climate change and we hope this scheme will help towards that goal.
“Practices wishing to participate will have until October 2022 to complete actions and submit evidence for this year’s cycle. Register for the 2022 Framework here.”
Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services, who is launching the scheme, said:
“Over the last couple of years, our focus as a nation and as an NHS has rightly been on the pandemic. But as we move beyond the emergency response to the pandemic and we learn to live safely with the virus, we need to redouble our efforts on that other emergency – the climate emergency, which has not gone away.
“As a government – and as a health service – we are committed to achieving our decarbonisation targets and making our contribution to tackling the impacts of climate change. We have an overarching target for Wales to become net zero by 2050. But we have a much more stretching target for the public sector, including the NHS, to achieve net zero by 2030 – just under eight years away. If we are going to achieve this ambition, we will all need to work together to reduce emissions and decarbonise.
“I would urge GP practices, community pharmacies, dental surgeries and optometry practices to register with the Greener Primary Care Framework and Award Scheme. In joining the scheme, you will be part of a growing network of healthcare professionals committed to building greener practice into everyday decision-making.”
The Framework and actions have been 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* via the project’s Expert Group and tested with a small number of pilot sites. Feedback included:
“In our practice, we have made genuine changes that we wouldn't have done unless we'd been nudged with the toolkit to do it.”
“And it's not actually as difficult as it sounds. Most of being sustainable is making swaps for stuff that you're already doing.”
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.
Kate Eden, Non-Executive Director, Public Health Wales, said:
“I would encourage all primary care contractors to consider incorporating this Framework into their day-to-day practice. By committing to make the small, practical and sustainable changes it suggests, primary care will lead the way for a carbon neutral NHS Wales.”
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.
For further information:
*with special thanks to Welsh Government, RCGP Wales, GPC Wales, RPS Wales, Community Pharmacy Wales, Optometry Wales, Welsh Optometric Committee, BDA, Welsh General Dental Practice Committee, HEIW, NHSWSSP, AWTTC and individual primary care practices.