HTN Now Awards 2023: supporting net zero NHS using digital

And finally, we have come to our last category – here are the finalists in supporting net zero NHS using digital.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals

Overview: The trust has a new approach to sharing patient discharge notes with primary care colleagues.

Why? The approach aims to reduce carbon emissions, resource consumption and costs, driving improvements in the efficiency and quality of patient care.

What happened? Upon being discharged from hospital each patient receives a hospital discharge letter, summarising their tests, treatments and any follow-up care, with a copy also provided to their GP. The printing and postage requires a significant amount of paper and transportation. The trust acknowledged that efficiency could be improved by rethinking the method used to deliver patient discharge notes and recognised that technology could be of assistance in distributing letters. They took part in extensive engagement with primary care, other healthcare providers and patients to identify a solution. Using the Transfer of Care (TOC) messaging system from NHS Digital, the trust can now save and send patient discharge notes to GPs electronically, and part of the trust’s EHR, electronic discharge advice note (eDAN),is used to send electronic copies of a patient discharge letter to the patient’s GP directly. Since launching this in November 2020, the trust has sent over 79,444 letters electronically and saved over 4.7 tonnes of CO2e.

Looking to the future. The trust is working on a solution to provide electronic discharge notes for patients as well as GPs, and are also planning to expand the initiative across the UK. Leeds seeks to share best practice and lessons learnt to encourage other trusts to adopt similar systems.


Overview: Synopsis used tailored algorithms to tackle the elective surgery backlog and provide clinical decision support.

Why? The global pandemic has increased pressure on the backlog and it continues to grow. One of the major bottlenecks in the pathway to surgery is the pre-operative assessment (POA) process, which is traditionally paper-based with patients awaiting a letter to invite them to a face-to-face appointment.

What happened? Synopsis replaced the resource-heavy and time-intensive paper-based POA process with a digital solution. Using a link sent to their phone, patients can complete their digital pre-op health questionnaire from home. Synopsis fully integrates with Patient Administration Systems, joining up siloed data systems and reducing administrative time, and harnesses the power of data to support clinicians. Over 250 tailored algorithms are used to generate clear outcomes during a full risk assessment to produce a collection of published clinical scores. Synopsis also generates calculated cardiac risk and lung risk levels along with a mortality score. Staff can gain information on the patient’s comorbidities and general health from their questionnaire and guide into the appropriate pathway of care. One NHS trust reports productivity savings of 47 percent, with another indicating that capacity has increased by 7000 patients.

Looking ahead. By streamlining the pathway to surgery, Synopsis continues to time, creates efficiencies and improves patient experience. Reducing unnecessary hospital visits also supports the NHS in reaching its Net Zero Target by 2040.

Cambridge University Hospitals

Overview: The trust is using technology which can choose between solar, battery and mains energy to deliver the lowest possible carbon eating and air-conditioning for mums and babies at The Rosie Hospital.

Why? Maintaining the right temperature at the Rosie Hospital is important for the welfare of mothers and babies, as water has to be heated to high temperatures to ensure it is safely pasteurised but the environment has to be cool enough to be safe and provide air conditioning on hot days.

What happened? Developed by Arriba Technologies on St John’s Innovation Park in Cambridge, the new technology combines photovoltaic (solar) roof panels, cooling, heating and the power of huge lithium batteries with computer-controlled electronics in a single unit. It can flip between the three different sources of power and choose whichever is most green at the time. The technology has led to a 60 percent carbon reduction compared to the previous conventional chiller unit.

Looking to the future. The trust says that the technology represents a major step towards their ambition to halve carbon emissions in the next 10 years and become net-zero by 2045. They noted that being a 24/7 major acute hospital means that they are an intense consumer of energy, water, goods and materials and added that their plan is to keep refining technology whilst replicating and scaling up across their buildings in order to decarbonise their estate, with a rolling fund to reinvest energy savings in green infrastructure.