Free digital tool released to help GPs calculate practice carbon footprints

A new free digital tool has been launched to help GPs calculate the carbon footprints and environmental impact of their primary care practices.

An online tool, the GP Carbon Calculator, is now available for all UK general practitioners to use and is intended to support practices to reduce their emissions, contribute to tackling climate change, and to ultimately help protect the health of the planet and their patients.

The calculator was developed by Dr Matt Sawyer, a GP and the founder of SEE Sustainability, which is a sustainability consultancy that specialises in primary care. The company created the innovation in association with the Sustainable Healthcare Coalition, a healthcare sector-led group that seeks opportunities to collaborate around sustainable practices, and the pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim.

Citing reports and research that show the NHS is responsible for around 4 per cent of the nation’s carbon emissions, and that non-clinical greenhouse gas emissions account for around 40 per cent of primary care emissions, SEE Sustainability aims to utilise this new tool to support the Greener NHS programme and the NHS’s net zero ambition.

It’s hoped that, by using the tool, practices will be better able to identify ‘small changes that could significantly reduce their footprint without compromising standards of patient care’, such as by switching to a green energy supplier or reviewing procurement of business supplies.

The innovation works by measuring and identifying the ‘non-clinical greenhouse gas emission hotspots’ involved in running practices, such as those from energy, travel, services used and goods or equipment bought, before providing a ‘carbon equivalent footprint’.

Users enter data about each area for a full calendar year, with the level of detail left up to them, and then find out the results, which they have the option of sharing with SEE Sustainability, via an anonymised report.

The tool saves data locally to the computer used for the first input, so that information can be saved and returned to at a later stage, but SEE Sustainability says it does not transmit or store users’ data elsewhere.

For more information, please visit the calculator site.