Dartford & Gravesham Push for Second Year of Sustainable Healthcare
Staff at Dartford & Gravesham NHS Trust are preparing to run the Green Ward Competition for a second year. This sees Dartford & Gravesham’s Darent Valley Hospital become a leader in clinical sustainability as staff undertake new projects to improve sustainability and patient care.
The Green Ward Competition is a programme designed and run by the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare. At Dartford & Gravesham NHS Trust, the competition is run in conjunction with Low Carbon Europe.
In 2016 staff from both Dartford & Gravesham and University College London Hospitals designed and ran projects to reduce the environmental, social and financial impact of their work. Projects included: sustainable medicine management in coordination with patients, instigating the use of dry powder inhalers (which have one eighteenth the environmental impact of conventional aerosol inhalers), reducing the waste of equipment in wound care and redesigning the management of staff records.
The NHS has a carbon footprint of 22.8 million tonnes CO2e per year. This includes emissions from building use, travel, purchasing of goods and services and commissioning. Procurement for patient care, and in particular pharmaceuticals, is responsible for the bulk of these emissions. The Lancet commission has proclaimed climate change to be the biggest global health opportunity of the 21st century, it is therefore vital that staff are equipped to reduce the carbon impact of delivering healthcare. Green Ward offers staff an engaging way to reduce the environmental impacts of providing treatment and care.
Petros Antoniou who leads on sustainability at Darent Valley Hospital said “Engaging staff is a critical element of Dartford & Gravesham NHS Trust’s approach to sustainability. It’s been really valuable to use Green Ward to work with clinical staff to green up patient care”.
 Sustainable Development Unit. Carbon update for the health and care sector in England, 2015