Thank you for being part of CSH in 2019!

What an amazing year! The explosion of consciousness about the climate emergency this year, helped by hundreds of thousands of children with the School Strikes lead by Thunberg and also by Attenborough, Extinction Rebellion and many others has been incredible. Not a moment too soon, but for the many people who have been plugging away for years, a very welcome injection of energy and inspiration.

This year 'Climate Strike' and 'Climate Emergency' were named the words of the year by Collins and the Oxford English Dictionary respectively.

Some healthcare organisations, along with others, are beginning to try to work out the detail of what declaring a climate emergency means. At the same time, we have seen unprecedented heatwaves and fires in Amazon, Australia and elsewhere; continued increase in self-interested politics and still no proportionate resource behind the words to support the climate emergency.

At CSH, it has been great to experience the sudden upswing in people contacting us during 2019, starting work in their area of healthcare and wanting to be involved as well as learn from what’s already been done.  Individual highlights of the year have been many including:

Strategic levers in the health system: as well as the inclusion in the GMC Outcomes for Doctors, this year we have seen sustainable healthcare learning outcomes incorporated into national guidance and standards for Nursing and Midwifery, Occupational Therapy, and Quality Improvement.

Getting the go-ahead for the Sustainability in QI Education project, supported by HEE, Health Foundation and KCL, which will enable us to work with undergraduate and postgraduate Quality Improvement education programmes to embed sustainability over the next 2 years.

International spread: we have supported the start of the new Centre for Sustainable Health Systems at the University of Toronto and work on Sustainable Healthcare at Yale, as well as comprehensive curriculum reviews at Gothenburg University and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden to integrate sustainability across all health science degree programmes. As I write this note we are asked to help set up a Centre for Sustainable Healthcare in the Netherlands. We have worked on a strategy for climate action supporting the eye health community worldwide via the International Association for the Prevention of Blindness and Eyefficiency is the first surgical audit tool to evaluate the carbon of cataract surgeries alongside productivity and cost.

Closer to home: Our 4 Green Ward Competitions at Barts, Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, Bournemouth and Frimley Health have helped the NHS save 1000’s of £s and tonnes of CO2.  It’s been inspiring to see teams generating great ideas from the ‘thinking space’ of our workshops and then working with them to make change happen.  Read our reports and view our posters to find out more.  We’re excited to have so much interest going forward to 2020!

Our training is in huge demand – we have run 3 successful Sustainability Schools this year and plan at least 4 in 2020. These are a great way to meet others involved and to spend time exploring the issues as well as receiving small group education. Our Education Masterclasses are also highly recommended.

Our 10th Year anniversary NHS Forest conference was at Alder Hey, an amazing setting: the Children’s hospital has a green roof and is built in fingers to make room for the gardens in between. The following week I met a parent who said how much difference having access to the garden had made to him and his partner when his child was staying there. 

There has been a definite increase in the awareness of the general public as to the importance of trees leading to more tree sponsorship and planting at our NHS Forest sites. Our staff have been interviewed for pieces in the Guardian and Daily Mail and there is loads of demand from NHS staff.

And our other Greenspace projects are growing: Our research study on greenspace and health focused on NHS staff at three hospital sites has produced a hugely rich piece of work incorporating very detailed qualitative responses as well as surveys.

Julia Glassman set up and ran a great project with residents in an Oxford care home which transformed a very ordinary corridor into 'a walk through the seasons’.

Our 8 Green Walking Project pilots in Mental Health Trusts has shown that >100 new walks took place over 3 months in the 8 Trusts. Sharing the stories of how patients and staff have benefited from the simple yet sometimes transformative experience of walking alongside one another in beautiful places has been really inspiring.

We thank all those individuals and organisations who made it possible for us to work to support healthcare to become more sustainable: our Trustees, our colleagues in other organisations, our volunteers and our funders.

The whole team at CSH wishes you a great festive break and a chance to reflect and refresh yourselves. 

Rachel, Inge, Frances, Jacqueline, Raluca, Sarah, Stefi, Carey, Olivia, James, Jacob, Ben, Sarah-Jane, Andriele, Chantelle, Cathy, Stuart, Charlotte, Alex and Vivien