As the UK’s largest employer and one of the largest organisations in the country, the NHS has a massive impact on our environment and is responsible for a significant proportion of the UK’s carbon emissions and electricity consumption. While its primary goal is to provide health and social care to its patients, it’s also becoming increasingly important to do so in a sustainable manner.

In 2020, the NHS committed to achieving net-zero by 2040 for the emissions it controls directly and net-zero by 2045 for the emissions it can influence. This is a huge target set by the NHS and one that’s ten years ahead of the UK government’s target. For the NHS to achieve these goals, it must devise an effective sustainability plan focusing on reducing its energy consumption.

The current state of sustainability in healthcare

In 2019, Aurp’s analysis revealed that the healthcare sector is responsible for 4.4% of the world’s carbon emissions – meaning that if it was a country, it would be the world’s fifth largest emitter. Additionally, the study found that the NHS produces more emissions than the global healthcare average, contributing to 5.4% of the UK’s total carbon footprint.

In recent years, the UK healthcare sector has put into place a series of measures to help counteract the emissions they’re producing. Here are some of the current examples of sustainability in healthcare:

Renewable energy: the NHS is increasing its use of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power

Energy efficiency in buildings: they’ve helped reduce consumption by upgrading lighting systems to LED, improving insulation, and installing energy-efficient heating and cooling systems

Sustainable transport: promoting sustainable transport options for staff and patients, such as cycling and walking

Sustainable procurement: the NHS is working with suppliers to ensure that products and services are sourced sustainably, with minimal environmental impact

While these are all proven to be successful sustainability methods, to reduce your emissions considerably, you should be considering how your technology and IT infrastructure supports your overall sustainability strategy. Despite NHS Digital introducing a ‘cloud-first policy’ for all of its trusts, many are still yet to fully commit to the cloud and make the most of the transformational, security, and sustainability benefits it provides.

How are cloud solutions reducing energy consumption?

With energy consumption being a primary contributor to the NHS’s environmental impact, it’s key for you to find new and innovative ways to reduce this. Adopting a cloud infrastructure is one way in which large-scale organisations are choosing to reduce their electricity consumption. By moving away from on-premise systems, they’re taking away the environmental and financial cost that comes with physical infrastructure.

Here are just four of the sustainability benefits of moving to the cloud:

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Reduced need for on-premise hardware

By moving your IT systems to the cloud, you’ll reduce your need for on-premise hardware, which consumes large amounts of energy

Improved energy efficiency

Alongside removing the energy used by on-premise solutions, cloud service providers often use energy-efficiency technologies to power their data centres


Cloud solutions allow you to scale your IT resources up or down based on your demand. This means you’ll be able to avoid over-provisioning IT resources and wasting energy on unused capacity

Reduced maintenance

Cloud solutions reduce the need for hardware maintenance, which can consume a lot of energy

By utilising a cloud solution, your hospitals and practices will be removing a huge amount of energy used up by on-premise systems. According to Microsoft, customers who have migrated from on-premise databases to Microsoft Cloud have observed a significant increase in carbon and energy efficiency, with improvements of up to 98% and 93% respectively.

Improving healthcare sustainability with Microsoft Cloud

Microsoft Cloud provides Trusts with sustainable technologies that enable them to optimise their operations and reduce carbon emissions. By leveraging cloud-based solutions, healthcare providers are streamlining workflows, improving data management, and enabling remote patient care, all of which assist in reducing the industry’s environmental impact. Additionally, Microsoft’s commitment to carbon neutrality means that using its services will contribute to the UK healthcare sector’s goals of becoming more sustainable.

Chat with our Microsoft specialists now to discuss its sustainability advantages

Driving sustainability in healthcare with Dell

Dell’s cloud solutions provide healthcare provides with a highly secure and flexible IT infrastructure that is tailored to their specific needs. By moving their data and applications to the cloud, healthcare organisations reduce their reliance on on-premise hardware, lower energy consumption, and reduce carbon emissions. Additionally, it supports remote work and virtual care, which helps to reduce patient transportation and other related emissions.

Chat with our Dell solution specialists now to discuss the sustainability advantages

Phoenix and Microsoft’s healthcare sustainability solution

Built-in Microsoft Teams as a Power App, our award-winning Sustainability App enables your organisation to easily collate and track its carbon emissions in one tool. By utilising our app, you’ll have the ability to track every aspect of your organisation, including employee travel data, your IT infrastructure, electricity, gas, and water consumption in all your buildings, and your waste and recycling.

All of this is achieved through three simple steps:


Our app collates siloed data sources about carbon emissions, for example, gas, waste, electricity, vehicle emissions, and water and highlights opportunities for you to convert that usage into tCO2e. It also automatically aligns your emissions to scope 1, 2, or 3


Through integrated Power BI, your organisation is able to further analyse and get a deeper understanding of its data as a whole, for different locations, or even for specific individuals


The Low Carbon Action Plan enables you to track reduction activities against key dates to understand the impact of action

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Chat with our sustainability specialist now

Book a free call with our sustainability specialist, Jen Clewley to discuss how our Sustainability App empowers your Trust to track and reduce its carbon emissions.

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Driving a higher quality of services and standards across UK healthcare. Return to our healthcare technology page.