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‘Critical role of infrastructure’
in the Net Zero drive

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Speaking at a Westminster Health Forum policy conference held online on 21 February, Lord Markham, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health & Social Care, discussed the ‘critical role of infrastructure’ in achieving the NHS’s Net Zero targets. While acknowledging that the NHS had already ‘done an incredible job of rising to this challenge’, he noted three key areas where there was an imperative to do more.

Giving a mid-morning presentation at the online conference, titled 'The next steps for Net Zero and sustainability in the NHS', Lord Markham was introduced by session Chair, Alifia Chakera, who is head of Pharmaceutical Sustainability, Health Infrastructure and Sustainability Division, at the Scottish Government. She explained that the Infrastructure and Sustainability team is 'a relatively young, addition'. She said: "We are really looking at population health models and infrastructure concepts, and at the way we frame decision making to embed sustainability. Sustainability for us isn't just environmental sustainability; it also lends to resilience, being fiscally responsible, and delivering high-quality patient outcomes. So, when we talk about sustainability, at least in Scotland, we're talking about the whole gamut."

Prefacing Lord Markham's presentation, Alifia Chakera explained that with the Minister unable to present 'live', attendees would see a recorded presentation. She said: "Let's now hear from Lord Markham — who has 30 years' experience, and now has the responsibility of being Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Department of Health and Social Care." She explained that the DHSC speaker would be covering energy, and 'the challenges around energy and the NHS estate'.

Appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care on 22 September 2022, Lord Markham has extensive experience across the public, private, and voluntary sectors. He was previously Lead non-executive director at the Department for Work and Pensions, and for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, and Deputy Leader of Westminster Council. In his current role he is the Minister responsible for the NHS estate (including Net Zero), the New Hospital Programme, NHS Finance, and Technology and Innovation.

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