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The carbon footprint of a hospice
  1. Kitt Dokal1,
  2. Mungo Morris2,3,
  3. Rosie Spooner4,5 and
  4. Paul Perkins3,6
  1. 1 Faculty of Life Science and Medicine, King's College London GKT School of Medical Education, London, UK
  2. 2 Aspen Medical Practice, Gloucester, UK
  3. 3 Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, Cheltenham, UK
  4. 4 Education Department, Centre for Sustainable Healthcare, Oxford, UK
  5. 5 Paediatrics, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cheltenham, UK
  6. 6 Palliative Medicine, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cheltenham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Paul Perkins, Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, Cheltenham, GL53 0QJ, UK; paul.perkins{at}


Objectives Environmental sustainability is an important concern within the National Health Service. Compared with other specialties, there has been little research within palliative care. This study aims to calculate the carbon footprint of a specialist palliative care unit.

Methods Resources grouped into medical, non-medical, travel, energy and waste were collected for the year 2021 in a hospice in the South West of England. Following a top-down approach, the activity used for each resource was multiplied by an emissions factor to calculate the carbon footprint. Staff attitudes were also surveyed.

Results The hospice carbon footprint was calculated as 420 tonnes kgCO2e. Travel (35%) was the highest contributor to emissions followed by gas (33%) and non-medical supplies (17%). There were 95 responses to the staff survey (59% response rate) with strong enthusiasm towards sustainable practices.

Conclusion This is the first study to estimate the carbon footprint of a specialist palliative care unit. Compared with other specialties, palliative care has relatively low greenhouse gas emissions. Identifying sources of carbon equivalent production can be a first step into developing interventions to reduce this use. Our carbon footprint study will be used by the Hospice Sustainability Group to reduce our unit’s carbon footprint.

  • Hospice care
  • Service evaluation
  • Education and training

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  • Contributors KD, MM and PP collected the data. KD wrote the first draft. All authors aided with data interpretation and critically revising drafts. They also read and approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.