GP practices in Wales have been invited to sign up to a scheme aimed at helping them to cut their environmental impact.
The Greener Primary Care framework and award scheme has been relaunched for its second year, the Welsh Government announced on Friday (17 March).
Its aim is to support primary care teams from across general practice, community pharmacy, primary care dental surgeries and optometry practices, to take action to improve the environmental sustainability of their organisations.
However, using the framework can also benefit GP practices by saving money and resources, according to NHS Wales. And teams can earn a bronze, silver or gold award in recognition of their achievements towards decarbonisation.
In 2022, more than 100 primary care teams enrolled with the framework, with 14% of GPs across Wales taking part. The practices completed 638 climate-friendly actions between them, and 35 earned either a bronze, silver or gold award for their efforts.
Analysis has so far has shown that taking action on just four of the 33 areas within the framework has saved 44,000 kg of carbon dioxide (the equivalent of four round the world flights) and more than £19,000.
The free, updated framework is available online and open to all members of staff. When teams sign up, they choose which action areas they wish to work on. These can be both clinical or non-clinical, covering categories including procurement, waste, disease prevention, buildings and estates, transport and smart working.
Once practices have completed the actions, they then upload evidence of this, which will count towards the different award levels.
Teams that registered last year are being encouraged to sign up again to see if they can complete more actions and achieve a higher-level award.
Eluned Morgan, minister for health and social services in Wales, said: ‘The vast majority of contact between people and the NHS happens in primary and community care – these services therefore will play a vital role in tackling climate change and our wider work to decarbonise the public sector.’
She added: ‘I am grateful to everyone who has participated in the scheme so far. These actions will make a difference to our future.
‘I am pleased the scheme is being re-launched for a second year. Public Health Wales will continue to work with strategic stakeholders and frontline clinicians to raise its awareness and ensure as many practices as possible can register and participate.’
Last year, a practice manager in Frome spoke to MiP about how their practice saved £10,000 in office costs by focusing more on sustainability.