Green Ward teams show impact of clinical sustainability projects

Frances Mortimer's picture

On NHS Sustainability Day 2016, clinical teams at two Trusts showed what can be achieved at ward and department level to improve sustainability.

Taking part in CSH’s Green Ward Competition, teams at Dartford and Gravesham NHS Foundation Trust and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust were supported to design and run their own green project, competing for a £500 prize awarded to the team showing greatest environmental, financial and social benefits.

The philosophy behind the Competition is that, while some resource decisions are best taken at Trust level (think new boiler, or insulating  buildings), many resources are committed at ward and department level and are directly linked to clinical care. The aim is to empower teams to improve their service for patients while making better use of staff time, equipment, patient visits/admissions and all the other resources in daily use. And then to measure the impact of what has been achieved.

The range of entries across the two organisations demonstrates the breadth of possibilities:

The D&G winners, the Heart Centre, entered their project to streamline the implantation of cardiac monitors, using a new LINQ device which can be quickly and safely implanted by physiologists, without requiring patients to be admitted. Benefits include quicker turn around and reduced need for follow up appointments, saving patients time and travel, and freeing up consultant time and the pacing lab for more complex interventions.

Other projects at D&G included reducing waste by using patients’ medication from home on Linden elderly care ward, the use of smaller packs for peripherally inserted central catheters on Rosewood oncology ward, and a project to encourage prescription of dry powder inhalers (less environmentally harmful than metered-dose inhalers) on Palm respiratory ward.

At UCLH, the winning project was a new paperless referral system in the neuropsychology department, saving not just paper but also staff time in reviewing referrals. The judges commented that they were impressed that the team had managed to change the referral practices of several other departments within the Trust as well as many GP surgeries.

More about the Green Ward Competition here: http://sustainablehealthcare.org.uk/what-we-do/green-ward-competition

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