We are Health Care Without Harm Europe. We exist to create a sustainable healthcare sector. One that does no harm to patients or our planet. One that acts as a catalyst, inspiring action right across society to protect human health and the environment. One that drives change in communities, so people can live more healthily on a healthier planet.
The potential for transformation is huge. In Europe alone, the healthcare sector employs more than 21 million people and accounts for 10% of GDP. Right now our health systems are under increasing strain, as populations age and the impacts of climate change and pandemics grow. In this context, we prove that it’s possible to deliver the highest quality of care in a way that’s sustainable environmentally and financially. We show how we can transform healthcare and protect people and our planet. Everyone connected to the health care sector has a vital role to play.
Health Care Without Harm Europe is a network of thousands of hospitals, healthcare leaders and healthcare professionals, with members across Europe and partners across the globe. From individuals championing sustainability in their workplaces to large hospitals pushing for sustainable practices, we stand side-by-side, sharing insights, inspiration and innovation – and transforming how our healthcare systems work.
Our movement unites hospital managers who are finding new ways to cut carbon emissions onwards. We bring together nurses and doctors who are ending the over-reliance on single-use plastics in surgery. We connect researchers as they search for safer alternatives to toxic chemicals, so the ones we use are safer for human health and for our ecosystems. We support procurement teams looking to move away from medicines that pollute the natural environment. We help nurses to raise awareness of how to reduce the impact of climate change in our communities.
Together, we pioneer pilot projects and scale up practical solutions. We foster collaboration to share insights and develop new ideas. We push for policy action that creates more resilient healthcare systems and keeps people and our planet safe. We showcase the potential for sustainable healthcare that not only improves patient care but saves money too.
The healthcare sector has a unique and urgent role to play, not only because of its size and environmental impact - but also because of its role and position in society. Healthcare practitioners are trusted, respected and listened to. They are perfectly placed to both inspire and demand change.
At Health Care Without Harm Europe we focus on work on four closely connected programme areas, trialling and scaling new ideas and pushing for ambitious policy action.
This is a time of real opportunity for the health sector. We have seen recently - through the pandemic and environmental crises - how rapidly health systems can adapt and react to urgent threats, but we have also seen their fragility.
Now is the time to rethink healthcare. Now is the time for the healthcare sector to become a beacon for change – setting a path for other sectors to follow. Now is the time to embrace new ideas that improve patient care in a sustainable and economical way. Now is the time to transform healthcare and protect patients and our planet for good.