Under Prime Minister, Sanna Marin’s 2019 Government Programme, Finland will be carbon-neutral by 2035, a goal requiring both faster reduction of emissions in all sectors, and strengthening of national carbon sinks. In this article, Leena Setälä, Sustainability director of the Hospital District of Southwestern Finland, sets out her vision for a ‘roadmap’ to reduce carbon emissions in the healthcare sector.
It is the year 2030. Imagine a healthcare system that provides high-quality medical services in specialised hospitals, which are working in close cooperation with a network of primary care facilities located at a moderate distance from people’s homes. Universal digital services are widely available and accepted by all age groups, providing 24/7 guidance and easy access to preventive care, self-monitoring, and personal health data.
Remote services have replaced much of the need for visiting doctors’ and nurses’ offices, saving patients travel time. Even expert clinicians located hundreds of kilometres away can be reached this way. Travel to healthcare facilities has fallen by over 20% compared with 2020, and some hospitals have reduced the amount of office and ward space they use
While there are fewer hospitals in 2030 than there were in 2020, they are modern, and built to be energy-efficient. All hospitals have their own fossil-free energy production – providing heating in the winter and cooling in the summer, covering most of their needs. During peak consumption, electricity, heating, and cooling supply relies on local power plants that offer 100% carbon-free energy for the area. Many hospitals claim to be carbonneutral in terms of their own energy usage.
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