Meat to be removed from hospital menus in NHS plan to cut carbon emissions - Printable Version
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Meat to be removed from hospital menus in NHS plan to cut carbon emissions - plasticfan - 01-26-2009
<span style="color:#2E8B57">Meat to be removed from hospital menus in NHS plan to cut carbon emissions
26th January 2009
Daily Mail (UK)
Patients could be forced to go without meat in hospitals under controversial new NHS plans to cut carbon emissions.
The plan to offer patients meat-free menus is part of a major new 'green' strategy to be announced tomorrow.
Staff will also be encouraged to walk or take public transport and cut their number of work-related journeys by working from home.
The new strategy will also look at ways of encouraging patients to leave their cars at home.
According to some experts, eating meat contributes towards global warming because of the chemicals sprayed on feed crops and the methane emitted by cattle and sheep.
But the plan is likely to come under attack from patients' groups who will see it as further evidence of political correctness taking precedence over patients' rights.
It is also likely to be seen by some environmentalists as a token gesture towards tackling the mounting challenges caused by global warming.
A plan to reuse hospital equipment is also likely to raise concerns of the increased risk of MRSA and other infections.
A report published last year showed the NHS’s carbon dioxide emissions in 2004 were 18.6 million tonnes and rising — more than three per cent of all emissions in England.
This meant that if the NHS was a country it would have been ranked as the 81st biggest polluter in the world that year, between Estonia and Bahrain.
Dr David Pencheon, director of the NHS sustainable development unit, said that the NHS had to act to make cuts in emissions and the changes would save money that could be spent on better services for patients.
The strategy, called Saving Carbon, Improving Health, includes a number of proposals including more phone-in GP surgeries to closing outpatient departments and instead asking surgeons to visit people at their local doctor's surgery.
Other ideas include urging people to drink less bottled water, more sterilisation and reuse of equipment, and encouraging patients, visitors and staff to leave their car at home.
Dr Pencheon said: 'This is not just about doing things more efficiently, it's about doing things differently, because efficiency is not going to get us to big cuts.
'What will healthcare look like in 2030-2040 in a very low carbon society? It will not look anything like it looks now.'
Last year's NHS report, believed to be the biggest public sector analysis of carbon dioxide, revealed one-fifth of the health service's emissions were from transport, one-fifth from buildings, and the remainder from procurement, including drugs, medical equipment and food.
Tomorrow's strategy covers all aspects of patients' care, from building design to transport, waste, food, water and energy use.
Dr Pencheon said the move towards a more meat-free menu would cut the relatively high carbon emissions from rearing animals and poultry, and improve health.
Last year, UN climate chief, Rajendra Pachauri, said having a meat-free day every week was the biggest single contribution people could personally make to curbing climate change because of the chemicals and emissions involved in farming practices and meat production.
According to Department of Health figures, the NHS spent £312million on patient meals last year.
'We should not expect to see meat on every menu,' said Dr Pencheon.
'We'd like higher levels of fresh food, and probably higher levels of fresh fruit and veg, and more investment in a local economy.'
Meat to be removed from hospital menus in NHS plan to cut carbon emissions - Easy Skanking - 01-26-2009
Apparently brains are considered meat as well and have already been removed.