A survey for the NHS Sustainable Development Unit investigates the public’s attitudes to sustainability in the NHS.
Most people in England show support for sustainability in the NHS, with nine in ten (92%) considering it either fairly or very important that the NHS works in a more sustainable way. A third of people (34%) would only support the NHS acting in a more sustainable way if it saved money. Most (56%) would support it if it was at least cost neutral, although only nine per cent say they would support it where this would cost a significant amount.
The public are generally enthusiastic about measures that are already being undertaken by the NHS to improve sustainability with three in four (75%) saying that hospitals serving locally-sourced, seasonal and fresh food would improve the patient experience, and a similar proportion (73%) saying that locating services closer to people’s homes so they do not have to travel to a hospital would have the same effect.They are, however, less likely to take actions themselves to help the NHS become more sustainable. Half of people in England (52%) say they would be likely to accept re-issued medicines returned by other patients (that are unused and have been safety checked), and only a minority say they would use public transport when travelling to NHS services (40%), inform staff when NHS resources have been wasted (38%), or inform staff if they have noticed that lights have been left on without a reason (36%).
Ipsos MORI conducted 1,101 face-to-face interviews for the NHS Sustainable Development Unit (SDU) with respondents in England aged 15 and over using around 150 sample points. The research was conducted in two waves between the 11th November and 5 December 2011. All data have been weighted to reflect the population profile of people in England aged 15+.