Canon Medical calls for a dedicated focus on net-zero radiology by 2040 as new NHS report illustrates 10% of estate carbon emissions come from medical equipment

NHS sustainability officers and radiology service managers working towards NHS net-zero carbon targets will be reassured by the latest carbon footprint data released by Canon Medical Systems UK.

The recent publication of the NHS report ‘Delivering a Net Zero National Health Service’ highlights that the greatest opportunity for green change is in the NHS supply chain. It states that 62% of carbon emission sources in the NHS are generated by ‘medicines, medical equipment and other supply chain’: medicines (20%), medical equipment (10%), non-medical equipment (8%) and other supply chain (24%). In sharp contrast all medical imaging equipment installed by Canon Medical into healthcare organisations comes with a zero-carbon footprint to support sustainability agendas.

Canon Medical’s Carbon Offset Impact Report1, developed and monitored independently to Gold Standards for UN Global Goals, shows that the importance of being a carbon zero supplier to the NHS has not been forgotten, despite the rapid mobilisation and fight against the global coronavirus pandemic taking centre stage in 2020. For example, fifteen relocatable Canon Medical CT scanners, deployed by NHS England’s COVID-19 recovery plan to help with patient imaging backlog and winter COVID-19 preparations, had zero carbon tonnes of emission for the NHS to incorporate into its environmental reporting totals. The 1,161.75 tonnes had already been offset by Canon Medical’s robust carbon offset which includes the CO2 emissions during manufacturer and the lifetime electrical running of the system once inside the hospital estate.

“The NHS net-zero report highlights the interrelationship between the NHS (compounded by the COVID-19 global pandemic) and the fragile state of our environment. It reinforces the need to have global eyes to minimise impact on the natural world and prepare for climate change,” states Mark Hitchman, Managing Director of Canon Medical Systems UK. “The world around us has a profound effect on our local health systems as the pandemic has served to illustrate recently. Future changes in climate, such as extreme weather and poor air quality, will further increase pressures on UK healthcare, such as asthma or respiratory issues. 2019 alone saw 900 more deaths from the summer heatwave.”

“The health system in England is responsible for 4% of the UK’s carbon footprint so has a moral obligation to look after the wider health of the planet. As a key imaging equipment provider to the NHS, and the only OEM with net-carbon credentials already, we will do all we can to support UK radiology with a focus on green and sustainable management of the imaging departments,” Mark Hitchman continues. “The recent announcement to create Diagnostic Community Hubs will keep patients closer to home and thus reduce travel related carbon emissions. But a rapid ramp up of medical equipment inside the ‘one-stop-shops’ to recover and renew UK diagnostics needs careful consideration – a green NHS needs sustainably focused equipment innovators.”

Paul Chiplen, Director at CO2balance, a specialist provider of innovative carbon management and offset solutions to UK industry states, “Supply chains that include independently verified carbon neutral players are incredibly important in verifying the strength of sustainability credentials. Our work with Canon Medical for over 6 years assures its customers and partners that its carbon statements and data are independently verified and validated. The NHS net-carbon targets alongside that of wider UK Government are positive steps forward to protecting the health of our precious planet.”

Photo caption: Canon Medical calls for a dedicated focus on net-zero UK Radiology by 2040 as new NHS report illustrates 10% of estate carbon emissions come from medical equipment.