NHS spends the equivalent of 3,000 junior doctors' salaries on post

The real cost of the NHS' post output

The NHS is spending millions of pounds on print and post while doctors are striking and the UK is falling behind on its carbon reduction targets.

Doctors and nurse in hospital corridor

The problem

A staggering reality

Our research has uncovered a staggering reality within the NHS - excessive spending on post and a remarkable volume of letters sent. It's time to address the inefficient allocation of resources and explore ways to redirect funds where they matter: supporting nurses and frontline staff while protecting our environment.

Older female opening letters in the kitchen

The facts

The numbers
speak volumes

We submitted freedom of information requests to 215 NHS trusts on the use of postal services and received responses from 72 trusts.

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£103 million in 5 years

NHS Trusts have collectively spent an astonishing £103,684,199 on post in the last 5 years alone, resulting in over 100 million individual items being sent.
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3,000 doctors' salaries

Expenditure on post over the past 5 years equates to approximately 3K junior doctors per year, based on an average salary of £34,012 p.a.
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£500K annual average

An NHS Trust typically spends around £512,547 on post annually. This would result in an estimated average yearly NHS expense of £110,197,700.
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Top spenders on post

The trusts that spend the most on post are University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust (£9.3 m) and Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust (£8.5 m).
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£98m potential savings

Digitising their communications by delivering information by secure email could save the NHS an estimated £98m over 5 years.
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504 tonnes less carbon

By shifting from post to secure email, the NHS could achieve 504 tonnes of carbon savings every year (that's 1.6 million km in a petrol car!).

The question

A call for change

As we anticipate another doctors' strike in the coming days, we're calling on the NHS to evaluate their communications management and to reduce their postal usage to align with our collective carbon targets. In a digital world, can their volume of post and the resource it requires be justified?

Senior doctor talking on phone next to computer

The answer

The journey needed

The NHS must consider how to leverage available digital communications solutions and minimise their postal usage. By optimising communications, we have the opportunity to redirect funds towards areas that truly matter - enhancing the compensation of our dedicated junior doctors and frontline staff, addressing staffing shortages, and making progress in environmental sustainability.

Doctor in meeting with healthcare board


It’s vital that in 2023, the NHS looks to modernise comms and embrace digital transformation.

A robust transformation strategy is required to implement secure, cost effective and efficient communication services that align with our collective carbon targets.

Paul Holland CEO, Beyond Encryption
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Beyond Encryption submitted FOI requests to 215 NHS trusts. 57 NHS trusts responded to disclose the total expenditure spent on post since 2018 and 39 NHS trusts responded to disclose the amount of letters or post sent since 2018. To calculate the number of Junior Doctors the expenditure on post could hire, the foundation year 2 Junior Doctor's salary of £34,012 was used.

Leader thinking about postal savings

Mailock secure email

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