Fresh targets requiring the NHS in Scotland to boost its energy efficiency and slash greenhouse gas emissions are expected, following the latest health service CO2 emissions study.

The research, commissioned by Health Facilities Scotland and carried out by Arup and the Stockholm Environment Institute, revealed the NHS accounted for a quarter of the country’s total public sector carbon dioxide emissions.

Based on figures from between 1990 and 2004, the findings showed NHS Scotland produced 2.63 megatonnes of carbon dioxide - approximately 3.6 per cent of Scotland`s total output.

Across the health service, travel for staff and patients accounted for 24 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions, while energy use in buildings, including heating and lighting, accounted for 23 per cent.

The remainder was caused by “procurement”, a wide-ranging term covering activities such as the production of medicine, catering services and freight.

Procurement emissions rose by 20 per cent from 1990 levels, while those from building energy consumption decreased by 34 per cent. The changes led to an overall 4 per cent fall from 1990 levels.

A spokeswoman for the British Medical Association Scotland said: “There is huge potential for the NHS to promote combating climate change and the BMA is pleased that progress is already being made to reduce emissions.”