Our changing climate is a regular feature in the news. As a healthcare organisation we know we have a responsibility to play our part in tackling the challenges it creates. After all, without a healthy environment, we can’t have healthy people.
What we're doing at SCW
- In October 2021 we published the SCW Carbon Reduction Plan 2021, which sets out at a high level our current carbon footprint and how we are aiming to meet our target of being carbon net-zero by 2040 in line with the wider NHS.
- In February 2022 we published our Green Plan. The plan sets out the detail behind how we will achieve net-zero and also how we will maximise our contribution to a net-zero NHS by supporting other organisations to meet their own targets.
- Sustainability Café - SCW's Green Group hosted its first Sustainability Café in May 2022, to help promote our commitment to net-zero to our staff.
Four inspiring speakers gave presentations on their contributions to the NHS's net-zero by 2040 plans, giving tangible solutions to inspire colleagues across SCW.
Our first speaker was Susannah McWilliam from the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare, a registered UK charity founded 14 years ago that supplies knowledge, resources, and training for the NHS and the wider health and care system. An example of practice was seen in their Green Ward competition with a project focusing on reducing unnecessary cannulation in an emergency department, causing 8400kg of CO2 to be saved over one year.
Human health is, of course, reliant on the health of the planet, and yet, unfortunately healthcare is part of the climate problem - Susannah McWilliam
The second talk was given by Hayley Carmichael from Care Without Carbon, a movement created by Sussex Community NHS Trust. She spoke about how their Dare to Care campaign was creating change with over 12,000 participants pledging to be more sustainable. Further to this, they have started providing staff with e-bikes for more sustainable travel.
In the last two years, it’s been incredible how much people have started to talk about sustainable healthcare - Hayley Carmichael
Our third guest speaker was Steve Spiers, the green social prescribing manager for Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire. Steve spoke about 'the symbiotic relationship between the natural environment and human health', stating that 'connecting with nature is good for both your physical and mental health [but] the populations that need that the most in terms of their health are the least likely to connect with nature'.
Steve’s team have been hosting local nature events, funding large projects, and improving referral pathways to get people out in nature. One of over 50 projects that the team has funded is a wild swimming project for the BAME communities, with hijab wetsuits included and translated into other languages for accessibility. Find out more about social prescribing.
The last of the speakers was Molly Wescott, one of SCW’s Graduate Management Trainees. Molly stated how Child Health Information Services (CHIS) had made a significant difference in the carbon footprint of their communications by changing from paper to digital. This showed a change in carbon footprint from 1.8 tonnes of CO2 to only 186 grams.
The CHIS team in SCW has come a long way to reduce their paper, time, and space wastage. We are not afraid to get carbon literate and hold our hands up in regard to the environmental impact that still remains today - Molly Wescott
Thank you to all of our speakers and all of those SCW colleagues who attended the first Sustainability Café and made the event so successful.