Local NHS organisations take the lead as world marks Earth Day

Local NHS organisations take the lead as world marks Earth Day image

Home » Local NHS organisations take the lead as world marks Earth Day

As the world gets ready to mark Earth Day (Saturday 22 April), NHS organisations in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes are showing that even the most routine areas of NHS activity can make a difference to our carbon footprint.

After the NHS became the world’s first health service to commit to reaching carbon net zero, every NHS trust in England now has a Green Plan setting out how it will reduce its emissions and environmental impact to support the ambition to reach Net Zero by 2040.

Climate change poses a major threat to NHS staff, patients and communities.  This is because there is a direct link between the health of our planet and the health of our people. The NHS is acting to reduce the harmful gases it puts into the atmosphere. Fewer emissions will mean fewer patients with asthma, heart disease, and cancer, and will also reduce disruptions to the delivery of care the NHS provides.

Local hospital trusts have been busily implementing a range of projects to reduce their carbon footprint, showing that large-scale projects and routine areas of work alike can make a difference to the environmental impact of NHS services.

At Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, for example, more than 3,300 solar panels have been installed across the hospital site, generating around 10% of the hospital’s total electricity usage. More than 50 EV charging points are now available in the trust’s car parks, and motion-sensor LED lighting is already reducing power consumption across most of the estate.

The introduction of real-time meal ordering and individual portion control measures has reduced patient food waste from 17% to 2%, and the trust is now trialling the use of cool sticks in place of ethyl chloride spray as a topical anaesthetic.

At Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, a new energy centre is nearing completion, which will replace all obsolete and out-of-date heating plant and equipment, and will reduce the trust’s carbon emissions by 35% once it is ready for use. The trust is also investing in schemes to encourage staff out of their cars, especially as the weather improves. A new e-bike loan scheme for staff was launched this week, and the trust also offers free or heavily discounted bus and rail travel for staff travelling between any of its sites and their homes, via Arriva, Stagecoach and Thameslink services.

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