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Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT) is committed to the principles of transparency, sustainability and positively encourages trade with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the third sector.

The trust, through its processes, seeks to work with partners that support equality and diversity, are ethical and abide by the Bribery Act 2010. KCHFT aims to be the most environmentally-friendly trust in the country.

Procurement is the process whereby the trust buys all the necessary goods and services from third party providers in order to meet the healthcare needs of its patients and provide staff with the resources to perform their duties. Effective procurement includes the whole lifetime costs from identification of need to disposal, and taking into account sustainability throughout the process.

Sustainability and environmental considerations have been on the agenda for some time, which means that procurement must take account of transport, utilities and waste (carbon footprint), as well as social aspects including SMEs in the purchase processes. All strategic procurements should include sustainability requirements to make sure KCHFT is contributing to the various environmental targets set by the government.

Contracting authorities take environmental issues into account when tendering for goods or services. The goal is to reduce the impact of the procurement on human health and the environment. The trust defines sustainability as meeting the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It is this ethos the trust works to.

As the largest public sector emitter of carbon emissions, the health system has a duty to respond to meet the environmental targets. KCHFT is working to make sure that in everything we do, we consider our impact.

The Sustainable Development Management Plan for NHS England 2018 – 2020 cites the following:

  • The World Health Organisation called climate change the greatest threat to global health in the 21st
  • Pollution is the largest environmental cause of disease and premature death in the world today.
  • Public Health England estimate 264,749 life-years were lost across England as a result of PM2.5 air pollution originating from human activity. The health impact of this is estimated to cost between £8.5 billion and £18.6 billion a year.
  • The Sustainable Development Unit has set a Carbon Reduction Strategy for the NHS in response to the Climate Change Act. The act sets out the UK government’s ambition to reduce carbon emissions by 80 per cent nationally before 2050.

These statistics show how critical it is to act now. KCHFT is taking its responsibilities very seriously and looking for suppliers that share our values and who we  can work with to deliver measurable environmental benefits.