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Blog: How can digital advances help a greener NHS?

Steven Hipwell, Digital Lead for the New Hospitals Programme

Lancashire and South Cumbria’s New Hospitals Programme aims to develop new, cutting-edge hospital facilities. The Programme’s Case for Change report, states that current infrastructure does not support either the digital or environmental ambitions for hospital facilities in the region.

The NHS Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit (MLCSU) is providing digital consultancy services to the programme. In an earlier blog, we looked at why digital advances are so important to new hospitals. This time, Steven Hipwell, Senior Programme Consultant at MLCSU and Digital Lead for the New Hospitals Programme, discusses hospital sustainability and how new technology supports the programme’s vision for creating state-of-the-art, environmentally-friendly facilities.

How can digital technology help to achieve those ambitions?

Digital technology is one of the ways in which we’ll be able to deliver sustainable, high quality and accessible care. However, the poor condition of our current hospital estate and backlog of maintenance needs means our buildings are not as kind to the environment as they could be and are expensive to run.

Digital technology can improve comfort and carbon emissions, which will also help with the efficient and cost-effective running of the new hospital buildings. Some examples include:

  • The building’s controls for services such as heating, lighting, ventilation, and air conditioning can be programmed to automatically adjust to a range of internal and external conditions to optimise comfort, operating costs and sustainability
  • Heating, lighting and other services can be programmed against occupancy levels to help measure and manage utilisation
  • Devices and services can be automated to switch on in preparation for expected use, and power-off accordingly
  • Location and identity management technologies can be used to track and pinpoint the whereabouts of people and physical assets for access to services, security and safety, such as in the event of an evacuation.

Read Steven’s full blog on the New Hospitals Programme website.