Read on for our round-up of the measures NHS trusts across the UK are taking to reduce their carbon footprint in line with tough government targets, and the opportunities available to boost NHS sustainability
A DRIVE to reduce carbon emissions has led to the introduction of greener transport at Newham University Hospital NHS Trust. With the organisation clocking up 90,000 journeys each year, the trust has recently leased a fleet of low-emission vehicles and has awarded a contract to a new taxi provider that offers hybrid vehicles with lower emissions to carry staff and patients.
Mike Dray, logistics and general services manager, said: “The hospital is continually reviewing ways of working to improve sustainability and efficiency. We are really excited to have introduced these cleaner, greener ways of working.” In the near future the trust will also be introducing an online booking system for the patient transport service which will create a more efficient service and eliminate the use of paper.
THE Technology Strategy Board is to invest up to £4.5m to support the development of new carbon abatement technologies, primarily focused on innovative demonstration projects. Part of a continued portfolio of investment in low carbon technologies, the competition aims to build on the success of the 2009 feasibility challenge and is seeking to take the best of those concepts forward towards commercialisation, with new proposals also welcomed. Up to £4m will be available to consortia that have demonstrated the feasibility of technologies at a design or laboratory scale and are looking to progress to the next stage of development. In addition, up to £500,000 will be open to new feasibility studies. The competition opens on 1 November, with the final deadline for applications on the 13 December.
A FLAGSHIP London cancer centre which was designed to be one of the most energy-efficient healthcare facilities in the country has helped University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust scoop a top environmental award. The organisation picked up the Energy Efficiency Award at the inaugural Health Service Journal (HSJ) Efficiency Awards for its approach to carbon reduction. Most recently, the trust has commissioned a new Macmillan Cancer Centre, which was described as a ‘model for sustainable design’. The building, which is due to open next year, features photovoltaics, a healing garden, a green roof and natural lighting.
Commenting on the win, Trevor Payne, director of estates and facilities, said: “I am delighted with the award. It recognises all the hard work that staff and energy champions have done in their areas to support our drive to provide sustainable healthcare and to be more energy and carbon efficient.” Over all its services, the trust has looked at ways to improve procurement, transportation and waste disposal and now has 60 staff carbon champions. Highly commended in the category was University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust, which is said to be ‘Britain’s greenest hospital’.
A COMBINED heat and power plant is to be built at Royal Berkshire Hospital as part of carbon reduction efforts. The boiler house will act as an on-site electricity generator in combination with new solar panels and bore holes which will extract heat from the Reading hospital’s North Block. Philip Holmes, director of estates and facilities at Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We spend about £600,000 to £700,000 on waste management, so this new technology will allow us to use waste within our hospital to fuel the boiler. We’ll see work starting on site in February or March of next year and be finished in 2013.”
THE Centre for Sustainable Healthcare’s project to support NHS organisations to retro fit heat exchangers to kidney dialysis machines is one of three initiatives that have made it through to the finals of the Pitch Pledge Party. A new initiative designed to bring practical carbon-cutting projects together with donors looking to support the fight against climate change, the Pitch Pledge Party is run in partnership with the Funding Network and the Guardian. It involves designers pitching to potential donors for £3,000 to £5,000 worth of vital funding. The kidney dialysis project is being organised as part of the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare’s Green Nephrology work and could save NHS trusts 20% on their annual carbon emissions. The goal is to retrofit 1,000 machines at centres across the country. Also shortlisted for the awards is a repair and re-use centre being set up in Edinburgh, and an energy-saving one-stop shop in Barnet.
The hunt is on for a green champion to lead energy-saving initiatives at Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. As part of its annual travel awareness event, the trust is looking for the member of staff who travels to work using the most environmentally-friendly methods.