After a six month campaign which had taken NHS Sustainability Day around England the big day finally arrived. The reasoning behind a six month campaign was to provide a platform for NHS Trusts around the country to showcase their hard work on sustainable development. By providing a platform for Trusts through the roadshows, the campaign would in turn reach a far wider audience than achieved in previous years thus allowing for more action to take place on March 27th, NHS Sustainability Day itself.
This action had already begun in the lead up to the main day with a staggering 65 entries into the national NHS Sustainability Day awards. This phenomenal amount of entries set the tone for what was set to be a unique day within the National Health Service calender. Below we have compiled a regional list of some of the activities, action and events which were conducted on March 27th to promote sustainable development within our healthcare system.
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On NHS Sustainability Day this year various NHS organisations based at Newburn were collaborating on a sustainable travel theme as their day of action. NHS staff are urged to adopt healthy forms of travel as an alternative to their normal car journey on 27th March. Recent travel surveys suggest over 85% of NHS staff at Waterfront/Riverside travel to work by car whilst the NHS collectively accounts for about 25 billion km travel in the UK annually making a significant contribution to its carbon footprint. NHS healthcare itself generates a huge amount of national travel with about 1 million people visiting their doctor and 100,000 visits by district nurses on a typical day.
Carbon reduction, together with health improvement are the core components of NHS Sustainability so on NHS Sustainability Day local NHS staff were offered an opportunity to try out some zero emission vehicles to see what is available now and familiarise themselves with the shape of things to come. At least three different Electrical Vehicle (EV) models were available for short test drives between 11.30 and 14.30 outside Newburn, Waterfront, Tyneside (NE15 8NY).
It is currently particularly advantageous to drive an EV in the North East because it has the best EV recharging infrastructure in the country and there are now rapid recharging facilities on all the local motorways providing free refuelling. Workplace recharging is also becoming more common with two available on the Waterfront/Riverside sites and another two nearby on the business park. It is also possible to get recharging points installed free at your home providing you have off street parking and EV running costs are approximately 20% of those with exhaust emissions leading to lower Whole Life Costs.
it went very well we had 22 people test driving the EVs from 6 NHS separate organisations including 3 doctors and 2 directors. This was up about 50% up on those scheduled despite the pretty horrendous conditions (the skys darkened and heavens opened just before the 11.30 programmed start, occasionally illuminated by a few bolts of lightening). The event did provoke a lot of office debate about sustainable travel so objective achieved and I have to say how proud I was of North Easteners (at least half female) being positive and receptive as usual despite adverse conditions.
In the end there were 6 different EVs provided for usage on the day.
Staff at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust’s eco therapy site ‘Common Ground’ were encouraging residents to plant the seed for change by growing their own edible growing spaces. Alongside the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare, the Trust were raising awareness of the Common Ground project whilst planting trees. The Common Ground project aims to raise awareness of the environment and sustainable practices across the healthcare landscape.
Staff have been working with the community to grow fresh produce which is then prepared and served up in the Guild Lodge kitchen. As part of NHS Sustainability Day the team called on people to participate by creating a low maintenance edible growing space at home. The project works closely with mental health services and is part of 14:14
NHS Leeds West CCG was aiming to be an organisation that is energy and resource efficient in everything they do, including how they commission services! The Clinical Commissioning Group pledged in 5 key areas, including; energy use and travelling to work. Staff at the Group did a waste and recycle campaign on March 27th to start work on making clinical commissioning in West Leeds more sustainable
Staff at Notts Healthcare marked NHS Sustainability Day with a range of events and activities.The focus was on sustainable travel and included information on a new staff pool car scheme being piloted by the trust. Its bosses want the trust’s staff, patients and partners to help cut its carbon footprint.
Simon Smith, executive director of local services and sustainability lead for the trust, said: “We encouraged people to come along and find out more about how the trust is ensuring it delivers greener, sustainable and environmentally friendly services now and in the future.”
At Duncan Macmillan House, in Mapperley, information was displayed throughout the day about the trust’s carbon reduction and sustainability initiatives. Staff at Rampton Hospital near Retford also supported the day by highlighting work taking place to create its next energy centre. It will be completed early next year and provide around 87 per cent of the hospital’s electricity needs.
Sustainability was put on top of the healthcare agenda when Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Queen Alexandra Hospital, took part in its third annual NHS Sustainability Day.
Throughout the day, tips were shared on how to help reduce climate change, which, in turn, will help the trust save money and meet government targets.
John A’Court, head of estates and facilities at PHT, said: ‘We were delighted to participate once again in NHS Sustainability Day and with the support of our partners, we used it as an opportunity to promote carbon reduction to our staff, visitors and the general public.
‘The NHS is responsible for around 40 per cent of the England’s public sector carbon emissions so has a huge role to play. The NHS has set a target of a 34 per cent reduction in its carbon footprint by 2020 and a 50 per cent reduction by 2025.
‘We back this strategy and are working hard to achieve it in areas such as energy use, procurement, transport and waste disposal.Our staff are key to helping us to meet these targets and we will be encouraging them to hem to participate in any way they can.The benefits to our staff can include lower energy bills at home and a fitter, healthier lifestyle.’
Personal travel planning, recycling and looking at low-emission vehicles were all covered at the event.
As energy bills continue to soar, Southampton General Hospital has started to produce homemade electricity that brings a saving of £400,000 a year.The new energy unit not only saves the hospital vital money, but also boosts its green credentials, slashing carbon emissions by 4,000 tonnes.
The two megawatt combined heat and power generator (CHP) installed on site will also allow University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHS) to sell excess electricity back to the supply company.The drive to go green comes as the NHS as a whole has pledged to reduce CO2 emissions – of which the trust produces 58,500 tonnes a year – by 80 per cent by 2050.
This is one of many green initiatives that the public were able to find out more about on Thursday, when the hospital hosted an action-packed event to mark NHS Sustainability Day.The hospital’s very own “green guru” Dr Tom Pierce, a consultant anaesthetist, hosted a stand promoting respiratory inhaler recycling as part of GlaxoSmithKline’s Complete the Cycle scheme and highlighted his drive to improve sustainability in clinical areas.
His work has led to the introduction of a programme to wash and recycle single-use steel theatre instruments which previously cost £628 per tonne to dispose of. This process now earns the trust £100 per tonne and saves 2,500kg of CO2.
Sarah Jones, event coordinator and an assistant project manager at UHS, said: “We hope this event gave our patients, staff, visitors and members of the public a chance to see the great work going on behind the scenes across our hospitals.”
Gloucestershire Care Services was focusses on growing for this years’ NHS Sustainability Day and they had an action packed two days of activities and events:
On Wednesda 26 March a grow your own stand and advice in the View, EJC, with Vision 21 a local charity on hand for tips and advice;
On Thursday 27 March from 10:30 13:00 schools and volunteers were involved in planting a wildflower meadow at Cirencester Hospital at the new entrance to the orchard, there was also a volunteer picnic in the orchard area.
Also on Thursday between 14:00 – 15:00 the new fruit and nut tree area beside in Stroud Hospital campus was opened and some additional fruit bushes were planted.
Spring is an ideal time to plan to grow your own and there is lots of advice on what can easily be planted at home. There were salad seeds given away to start people off.
Growing your own helps to reduce the transport and packaging of food. Likewise eating fruit and vegetables rather than processed foods is less carbon intensive and much better for you!