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UHNM to contribute to NHS green savings

The UHNM Green Plan is set to play its part in helping the NHS cut more than 1m tonnes of C02 emissions in the next three years – the equivalent of taking 520,000 cars off the road.

One of more than 200 new green plans put forward by NHS trusts across England, the plan by UHNM sets out how it will reduce its environmental impact and help the NHS reach net zero by 2040.

Louise Stockdale, head of environmental sustainability at UHNM, said:

"With air pollution alone contributing to 1 in 20 deaths in this country a year, it is clear we are facing a health emergency as well as a climate emergency.

“Our Green Plan is a testament to our staff's commitment to tackling climate change, and we are proud to set out the positive actions we will take to reduce our impact on the environment and safeguard the future health of our children and grandchildren."

The green plans lay out how the NHS, which contributes approximately 3.5% (9.5 billion miles) of all road travel in England, will make this travel greener. Smarter buildings, LED lighting and energy saving measures are also reducing emissions and saving NHS organisations money, while using intravenous anaesthetic instead of gas and helping patients use inhalers more efficiently are improving patient care.

Initiatives at UHNM include improving access to sustainable and low carbon travel modes to the Trust’s sites, the removal and replacement of obsolete electric vehicle charging points and working with external partners to source investment for the expansion of electric vehicle infrastructure as part of the Electric Vehicle Transition Strategy. 

UHNM is also reviewing access to secure cycle facilities following the uplift of the Trust’s Cycle to Work Scheme spend limit. This increase will support staff to choose a healthier commute by increasing the range of bikes available to include e-bikes.

The Trust is also working to reduce its emissions from waste through installing a biodigester at the County Hospital site, transforming the way food waste is managed.

Staff in Theatres will be working with Sharpsmart to recycle single-use metal instruments, significantly reducing clinical waste and encouraging staff to reduce single-use plastic catering items by using sustainable alternatives.

Clinical colleagues at the Trust are engaging and supporting targets in relation to medicines management through a review of nitrous oxide waste on maternity wards.

Consultant leads are supporting the review of carbon emissions from inhaler use and promoting sustainable prescribing across the region. 

UHNM will continue to promote more sustainable care models through improvements to its community energy scheme: ‘Keep Warm, Keep Well’, which was showcased as part of the Regional ICS Green Plan .

Dr Nick Watts, Chief Sustainability Officer at NHS England said:

“The NHS was the first health system in the world to commit to net zero and the outstanding innovation and commitment from UHNM is a vital step towards achieving that aim. 

“Doing our bit on climate change will directly improve public health and reduce health inequalities, cutting deaths caused by air pollution and ensuring a healthier future for our children.”

Recent research by the Clean Air Fund found that if current and proposed government policies are implemented, air pollution could be reduced to WHO-aligned levels across the majority of the UK by 2030 and as a result there would be 3000 fewer cases of heart disease, and children across the country would suffer an average of 388,000 fewer days of asthma symptoms

A report by the Environment Agency found that air pollution is the single biggest environmental threat to health in the UK, shortening tens of thousands of lives each year