Why address Sustainability?
Delivering environmentally sustainable and adaptable services is critical across all sectors and an important national priority. Australia has one of the best health care systems in the world, however the delivery of these services contributes 7% of Australia’s total emissions. It is essential that Australia’s health systems are prepared to take opportunities that improve their sustainability, plan strategies to adapt and mitigate to future challenges arising from changes to the global climate and develop climate-resilient services.
Improving the sustainability of health services is an opportunity to improve the safety and quality of care, improve the health of the community, reduce low value care, unwarranted variation and reduce waste.
Globally, health services organisations are recognising the importance of knowing and understanding the impact of health care on the environment and public health. Recognising this, more health services are developing sustainable healthcare plans; monitoring their progress towards sustainability targets; considering climate-resilience in the organisation’s models of care, clinical practices and decision making processes; and designing or upgrading facilities with climate-resilience and sustainability in mind.
Sustainable Healthcare Module
The Commission is supportive of health service organisations who are developing sustainable healthcare plans and taking initiatives towards the delivery of sustainable, climate-resilient health care to ensure ongoing delivery of safe, high quality care to the Australian public.
The Commission has established a Sustainable Environment Advisory Group (the Advisory Group) to provide expert technical advice and guidance on the development of a Sustainable Healthcare Module (the module). The Advisory Group is compiled of multidisciplinary health professionals and a consumer with industry experience and expertise in sustainability, mitigation, resilience and adaptation within health care.
The module will be voluntary for health service organisations. It is envisaged that the module will consist of a number of actions that can be implemented in any health service organisation and will be assessed as part of organisation’s routine accreditation, should the organisation choose. Implementation of the module will rely on the health service organisation’s existing governance structure.
Development of the Sustainable Healthcare Module will include a comprehensive consultation processes. The aim of the module is to support health service organisations to know their opportunities for improvement and to develop strategies to develop climate-resilience, adapt systems and mitigate emissions. The actions will aim to:
- Include within the role of a health service organisation’s governing body, the responsibility for setting priorities for the organisation’s sustainable healthcare plan
- Incorporate sustainability monitoring into the organisations regular monitoring and performance reporting structure
- Incorporate sustainability into routine clinical practices focusing on mitigation, resilience and adaption
- Build the health workforce’s sustainable healthcare literacy to enable clinical decision making which is sensitive to sustainability.
The Advisory Group will also provide advice and guidance on available resources and tools to support implementation of the module, or other initiatives which focus on practical steps that a health service organisation might take.
How to get involved
The Commission will develop a draft Sustainable Healthcare Module with the support of the Advisory Group. This initial draft of the module is expected to be made available for public consultation.
Updates will be made available here, including information relating to public consultation, or you can register your interest to receive updates about this module by completing the below form:
You can also receive regular updates about the Commission’s work by subscribing to the Commission’s NSQHS Standards eNews and updates.
Who to Contact
For further questions or advice, please contact the Safety and Quality Advice Centre.