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NHS sustainability survey renews support for mandatory SDMPs

The 2019 NHS Sustainability Progress Survey reveals an improvement of 20% when it comes to senior engagement for sustainability within NHS Trusts. However, 33% of respondents said their Trust does not have a Sustainable Development Management Plan (SDMP) in place that is being actively followed and 67% of sustainability managers report spending power of less than £20,000 for sustainable development projects.


Significant improvements since 2018 include the increasing support of procurement, which is now at 50% compared to 20% last year, although this still means that in 50% of Trusts collaboration with procurement is not as effective as it could be. 


The survey also invited respondents to comment about action they would like to see from NHS England to encourage and support sustainable development. Mandating SDMPs and sustainability accountability were mentioned several times. Earlier this year the NHS Sustainability Campaign called on the government to make SDMPs mandatory across the NHS. NHS Improvement / NHS England expect all NHS providers to have a Board-approved SDMP in place as a measure of a well-led organisation, however, it is optional to implement one. An SDMP could form the basis of future plans for NHS Trusts to contribute to emission reduction targets.


Survey respondents also suggested more funding as well as ring-fenced funding and introducing a more flexible approach to procurement, which would enable Trusts to respond to changes and update their policies regularly.


The survey was completed by 47 NHS Trusts. The findings will form part of the ongoing NHS Sustainability Campaign strategy in 2019 and 2020 which includes roadshows addressing specific barriers to progress such as procurement, plastics and clinical Engagement. 


See the full results of this survey and further respondent comments here.