Sustainability Innovation Corner

The Innovation Corner showcases best practice sustainability solutions that are helping to shape a greener NHS.

Below you’ll find newsletters, case studies, thought leadership articles and guest blogs about the great work that has been done by NHS organisations in the North East and North Cumbria.

If you’d like to share a sustainability solution or have any focus areas you would like us to showcase please get in touch. Contact Peter Lillie, Innovation Manager – Energy and Sustainability at [email protected]

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Case studies and blogs

Click on the arrows below to view our latest blogs and case studies.

Medicines account for up to 25% of emissions within the NHS, with inhalers making up 3% of these emissions. Because the propellants in these devices are powerful greenhouse gases, landfill disposal is harmful to the environment as residual gas from the canisters is released into the atmosphere.

Read about a project delivered by the HI NENC to improve outcomes for patients with respiratory illnesses, which promotes better care and environmentally sustainable management of inhalers for people with asthma and COPD in the Tees Valley. Download the case study.

In June 2019 the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust became the first healthcare organisation in the world to declare a Climate Emergency. After a rigorous review of carbon measurement tools, the Trust used the SmartCarbon Calculator to measure and monitor the emissions from its operations. But in order to gain an accurate measure of its total carbon footprint, there was a need to include the carbon emissions from its supply chain that were related to delivering products and services. Read here about how the Trust partnered with SmartCarbon to develop a solution

The total greenhouse emissions for the NHS is approximately 25 million tonnes, with primary care being responsible for around 23% or 5.75 million tonnes. To support primary care services to work towards plans to become green organisations, North East sustainability consultancy SEE Sustainability offers expert support to help services to reduce their environmental harm and improve outcomes for patients, practitioners, practices and planet. Support includes delivering training, measuring carbon footprint and developing a practice level carbon reduction plan. Read the full case study.

In this blog, Dr Sean Gill reflects on programmes of work the HI NENC is supporting to reduce the impact of anaesthetic-generated emissions, which are responsible for over 2% of all NHS emissions.

This includes an innovative programme of work which has trialled climate-friendly pain relief during childbirth, and a project using environmentally friendly anaesthetic face masks. Read the blog.

In this article, Pete Lillie, Innovation Manager for Sustainability at the HI NENC, explains why addressing the climate crisis is so important in driving the improvement of health outcomes and tackling health inequalities for our population. Pete discusses the work already happening in the North East and North Cumbria and urges that outside of the box thinking is crucial to meet ambitious targets. Read the article.

With NHS travel and transport accounting for 3.5% of all UK road traffic, the development of greener transport is critical to reduce harmful emissions, clean up our air, and improve health. In response to Covid-19 and as part of accelerating its Climate Emergency Strategy, Newcastle Hospitals has partnered with ZMOVE to trial an innovative courier delivery scheme, distributing healthcare equipment and pharmaceuticals to patients using electric cargo bikes. Read the case study here.