Transforming Healthcare: The role of engineering in delivering a net zero health service

In this report, IMechE examines the healthcare sector's substantial contribution to climate change, the sustainability challenges and how engineering can, and already is, contributing to the sector's transition to Net Zero.

If the health sector were a country, it would be the fifth largest emitter on the planet. This fact presents as a paradox, considering that climate change is perceived as one of the biggest threats to human health globally.

The targets set by each UK nation are a positive step in correcting healthcare’s course towards a more sustainable delivery system. However, achieving this goal will necessitate coordinated action on a large scale, encompassing the renovation, modernisation and greening of healthcare facilities, fleets, supply chains, and practices in every setting. The major challenge for healthcare lies in balancing the need to change practices with maintaining patient safety, all while avoiding increases to the financial burden on an already stretched healthcare system.

Engineers will play an essential role in delivering a Net Zero health service, both in the UK and globally, by designing, developing, deploying, and maintaining structures, machines, systems, materials, and processes to solve the challenges facing the healthcare sector. However, there are many existing barriers that engineers and the engineering profession generally face when developing, testing, and deploying new technologies in healthcare systems.

This report explores these challenges and underscores the importance of engineering. It acts as an important call to arms to engineers, governments, industry, healthcare sector, higher education and professional engineering institutions to work together in response.

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Transforming Healthcare: The Role of Engineering in Delivering a Net Zero Health Service

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