Sign up to the 10:10 Health mailing list for resources, updates and support. Find colleagues interested in sustainability and form a 10:10 group.
Sustainability tends to be well supported in the NHS, but interested colleagues can be hard to find. By joining the 10:10 Health mailing list you’ll be able to hear what other people across the country are up to, share ideas, get advice, contribute to discussion and be part of a growing, active community. Sign up here.
On a local level, a flurry of group emails to different mailing lists within your organisation can be surprisingly successful in finding like-minded people. Otherwise, try local environmental groups to see if they know anyone who works in your organisation. Here’s a template email you could adapt.
Know anyone with cardiovascular disease, COPD, diabetes, overweight or depression? Active living will benefit their health – help them get out of their cars and start walking, cycling, gardening, dancing… Exercise has fewer side effects than pills.
Healthcare is not all about pills and operations; just keeping physically active has been shown to be an effective way to improve cardiovascular risk, respiratory symptoms, diabetic control, mental health and more. Don’t forget to discuss these benefits with patients and think of new ways to help them get moving. Try prescribing a Step-o-Meter or directing them to a Green Gym.
For more on the evidence behind low carbon care, see www.carbonaddict.org, or download the 10:10 “Decarbonising Care” guide.
Don’t wait for the whole NHS – get started in your ward / lab / surgery / common room.
10:10 is all about immediate, effective and achievable action, so don’t wait for the masses – get your team on board and show what can be done. Lots of ideas in the 10:10 ward checklist. Doctors, how about greening your mess? More info here.
Find out more about climate change, why it’s happening, what it means for human health and what we can do about it.
Unsure about the scientific arguments?
Not sure about what climate change has got to do with health professionals?
Convinced about the problem but unsure what we can actually do to fix it?
Show the hard hitting climate change movie, The Age of Stupid, to raise awareness and inspire action. The NHS has bought a licence making it really easy to show the film for free.
The enormously ambitious drama-documentary-animation hybrid stars Pete Postlethwaite as an old man living in the devastated world of 2055, watching "archive" footage from 2008 and asking: why didn't we stop climate change while we had the chance? It can be a great way to introduce colleagues to the urgency of the issue of Climate Change, and find other likeminded people to team up with. Engaging senior management in organizing a screening can make publicity much easier and more effective.
The film can leave people feeling overwhelmed by the size of the problem, so a positive, well-informed speaker to lead discussion afterwards is a good idea. Local universities or environmental groups may know of someone suitable. Information on 10:10, and (if you’re feeling extremely enthusiastic) tasty, locally sourced, vegetarian refreshments could also go down well!!
For a trailer and information on obtaining the film see: www.greenerhealthcare.org/age-of-stupid
For a template publicity email click here
For posters advertising your event see here: http://www.ageofstupid.net/postermaker
Film reviews here: The Telegraph, News of the World and the BMJ
For advice contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Take the health message to the top – if we shout together, international climate negotiators can hear our voice. Sign the Climate and Health Council pledge at www.climateandhealth.org.
Health professionals are widely respected and have an important message for the world: that "urgent government-led international action on climate change is essential to the health and survival of this and future generations". The Climate and Health Council is running a global campaign to maximise support from doctors and other health professionals for urgent action at the UN Conference in December.
Add your signature to the many thousands already signed up at www.climateandhealth.org/pledge
Push your Trust to sign up to 10:10 and take serious action to cut CO2 emissions.
10:10 is a great opportunity to get senior management to publically commit to CO2 emission cuts. With them on board, making widespread changes and a 'culture' of NHS sustainability will be much easier. There are lots of resources out there to help Trusts improve sustainability, so even if they won’t sign 10:10 you can let them know how they can do more.
A good start is a letter to the Chief Executive, the Estates Manager, Clinical Director and anyone else powerful. Here’s a draft you can adapt, you may want to enclose the methodology for organisations in 10:10, or maybe the open letter from the 10 first NHS organisations to sign up. Get likeminded colleagues to write to them. Get local environmental organisations/patient groups to write to them too. Ask to meet them, and direct them to the 1010 Trust checklist.
Sustainability is on most Trust Boards’ agenda, so a little bit of encouragement from you is often enough to lever them into action. And of course, energy efficiency = saving money, so they should be interested!
Screen your patients for cold and damp homes – check out what help is available and put them in touch. It’s not social work – it’s for their health.
Cold homes increase respiratory illness, drive up blood pressure and cardiovascular deaths and make people miserable. Meanwhile, energy efficiency schemes aren’t reaching those in need, and CO2 emissions are sky high…
Could you regularly ask patients about cold at home (make it clear it’s about their health) and put them in touch with services which can help? Find out what’s on offer locally from www.est.org.uk, www.warmfront.co.uk or ask your local Council.
Walk, cycle, car share – get to work the healthy, sociable way!
Walk: Your best option if you live less than a mile from work. You can cut your carbon footprint while improving your health and wellbeing.
Cycle: More and more of us are cycling to work. It’s cheaper, healthier, better for the environment, and there’s less parking hassle. Get up to 40% off a new bike with the Cycle to Work scheme, paid in monthly instalments. Join Spokes for more information on cycling in the NHS. Find your Trust cycling group (or start one) and make your workplace more cycling friendly with this ten point plan.
Car share: This is a great way of cutting your carbon emissions, making friends and staying awake while driving. Join Liftshare or ask your Trust if it’s already set up a car sharing group. Click here for money-saving tips on driving ecologically.
Find out about your local public transport options and for meetings and conferences use teleconferencing facilities to reduce the miles you travel.
Reduce – Reuse – Recycle – and keep clean stuff out of the clinical waste! Incineration of yellow (and orange) bags is a great way to make CO2 so if it’s not contaminated, look for a black one – or even better, find a recycling bin.
Making the stuff we use is where most of the carbon emissions come in. (Especially medical stuff – did you know 22% of the NHS carbon footprint comes from buying in drugs?) “Reduce” and “Reuse” are definitely still top of the list.
“Recycle” comes next – even in hospitals there’s no reason why newspapers, cans and even sterile packaging can’t be recycled. Speak to Estates and Facilities about getting some recycling bins for your area.
“Rethink clinical waste”
Every region manages its waste differently but all of them incinerate their clinical waste. Incineration releases all the locked-up carbon… If it’s not clinical, find another bin.
The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare is registered in England & Wales as a company limited by guarantee No. 7450026 and as a charity No. 1143189. Registered address: 8 King Edward Street, Oxford, OX1 4HL