R. Knagg, J. Dorey, R. Evans, J. Hitchman

Sustainability in healthcare: patient and public perspectives

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

SummaryThe sustainable healthcare agenda has become increasingly prominent in recent years. But what does this mean for patients? In this article, we draw on our personal views and experiences as patients, carers and patient advocates, and consider the effects that efforts to improve the sustainability of healthcare may have on care quality and patient experience. We also review the small amount of existing research and policy in this area, with particular focus on documents from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the Health Foundation. Based on synthesising these resources with our own experiences, we make recommendations on how to: share information with patients about how they can contribute to healthcare sustainability; offer more sustainable alternatives without pressure; account for diverse patient views on the relevance of sustainable healthcare; provide information about the impact of healthcare on the environment; involve patients and the public in leading positive change; and avoid broadening health inequalities. There is a clear need for more research and engagement to help advance our understanding and weigh up the benefits to individual patients vs. the environmental impacts on the wider population.

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