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Special focus on dentistry and the environment

By DTA | 9th November 2021 | News

An update from Chief Dental Officer Sara Hurley and Chief Sustainability Officer Dr Nick Watts which looks at what reaching net zero carbon means for dentistry:

'As world leaders gather at COP26, one message is clear - the climate crisis is all our business. Right now, with the response to COVID-19 at the centre of our work, thinking about this area can be difficult. However, the response to climate change often directly improves the health of our patients and the consequences of not addressing the climate crisis are severe for all us - flooding, heatwaves, and even the epidemic spread of infectious disease will become more frequent and more severe.

The NHS as a whole is taking action - we are the first health service in the world to commit to reaching net zero carbon emissions. Since 2010, efforts across the health service have resulted in NHS emissions being cut by 30%. This is already improving care, as well as the health and wellbeing of our patients. Decisions have been made to invest in greener medicines, greener transport, greener buildings, and greener energy consumption.

Despite this progress, there is still more to be done. The carbon impact of dentistry cannot be ignored. Analysis published in the BDJ in 2017  found that the carbon footprint of NHS dental services is 675 kilotonnes of CO2e each year, the same as powering over 610,000 UK homes.

Together, with the help of staff across the NHS, we hope to achieve even more. With more people involved, we stand every chance of meeting our target of becoming a net zero health service by 2040, improving the health outcomes of current and future generations.

In this bulletin, we discuss what reaching net zero carbon means for dentistry.

There is more to be done and we look forward to working with the NHS dental team on taking this agenda forward.

For those celebrating yesterday, we hope you had a very happy Diwali.

Best wishes and thanks,

Sara and Nick' 

Read the full NHS dentistry and oral health update 

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