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NHS Estates & Facilities Conference Review | Steven Hill

Posted on July 2023

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​Steven Hill, Senior Manager of our Healthcare Division, reflects on the recent NHS Estates & Facilities Conference and the latest developments in sustainability within the NHS.


As the sole recruitment consultancy present at the NHS Estates & Facilities Conference, we were in the good company of several innovative organisations supporting the 2040 net-zero commitment of the NHS. This key goal was the focal point of the event and the day was punctuated with addresses and discussions by leading voices on strategy, best practice and collaboration.

From new, efficiency-increasing software through to phone network replacement, evaluation of current infrastructure has led to a host of carbon-reducing projects. Prominent among these are energy-efficient means of maintaining air purity within indoor spaces. Harriet Ndungu and Dr Angharad Ruttley spoke on the necessity of this for infection control, and the East London Foundation Trust have just begun their 12-month trial, which, if successful, will be mirrored across other NHS Trusts.

The NHS is a very large ship to steer and new practices often take longer to implement than in the private sector; Covid forced a speed up of digitalisation which may otherwise not have happened for over a decade. While newer hospitals have been established with sustainability at the forefront, many were built in the mid-twentieth century and the issue lays in modernising the existing infrastructure without simply ripping it out and starting from scratch.

From speaking to delegates, it’s clear that there is a need to collaborate with industries which are further along in achieving net zero and drawing on skillsets not currently predominant within the NHS to overcome some of its current challenges. To this end, while our NHS clients have usually specified previous NHS experience, it has become apparent that bringing in candidates with diverse sector backgrounds can bring a real benefit.

Over the last 12 months, Venn Group has seen a large increase in the demand for contractors who have experience in delivering sustainable solutions and this is an area which is only going to get busier. The very existence of job titles containing ‘sustainability’ and ‘strategy’ which didn’t exist five years ago is a testament to the necessary shift that has recently taken place. In contrast to the news stories which tend to cast a dim light on the prospects of the NHS, it was a privilege to spend this day alongside organisations and individuals committed to ensuring it has a strong and sustainable future.


Should you wish to discuss your recruitment requirements, please contact Steven Hill on 0207 557 7667 or email