Frimley cuts costs and carbon with Green Ward

Thursday, 29 October, 2020

The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare and the Frimley NHS Foundation Trust held the Green Ward Competition Awards on the 30th September 2020. 

There were some incredible projects showcased at the award event, with a forecast annual saving of 424 tonnes CO2e in carbon emissions and £12,417. The carbon savings are highly impressive especially as many of the changes made were relatively small.

Dr Olivia Bush, Clinical Programme Director at the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare,  worked directly with 6 ward and unit teams across the trust (3 Frimley teams and 3 Wexham teams) to develop, run and measure projects to make their daily practice more sustainable and add value. 

The Paediatrics Respiratory Team won the competition for their clinical innovation. The team liaised with the CCG lead pharmacist about prescribing low volume MDIs. If GPs in the area reduced prescribing Ventolin inhalers by 30% and instead prescribed Salamol this would save 363tonnes CO2e annually in carbon emissions.

The team also aimed to reduce greenhouse gas release from metered dose inhalers by advising patients to return inhalers to a pharmacy to be incinerated. If 30% of patients took action the annual savings would be 44 tonnes CO2e!

Patients involved were enthusiastic about the project, reporting:

‘I had no idea inhalers damage the environment if just thrown away, of course I don’t want that for the next generation. Now I know I’ll take them back to a pharmacy’


‘We all have a responsibility for the environment, and I’d like to do my bit’ 

The contestants from other departments also presented impressive projects at the Green Ward competition award event:

The Physiotherapy team reduced duplicate issuing of walking aids. Over 1 day the hospital saved 182kgCO2e in carbon emissions, which amounts to an annual forecast saving of 11,284 kgCO2e in carbon emissions & £7,327. 

The Vascular Access team reduced waste of blood from venesection of patients with Genetic Haemochromatosis. One of the staff members shared “The green ward competition has made me think more broadly about the context of sustainability in a completely different way. I have had the opportunity to think differently. It’s been a good challenge to be part of [the competition] and [to] think outside of my own clinical box’."

Team members from the Endoscopy unit announced that by switching off CO2 cylinders between procedures, instead of leaving the CO2 cylinder tap open continuously, they were able to save 546kgCO2e in Carbon Emissions and £1,226 annually. 

The ICU team successfully reduced the waste of linen and consumables by introducing a trolley in the centre of the unit to discourage stockpiling beside beds, leading to a forecast annual savings of 1,161kgCO2e in carbon emissions and £3,642. A senior staff nurse shared “I enjoyed being part of the Green Ward Competition. This project has made me more aware of how I can help to reduce waste and become more eco-friendly, not only at work but also in my personal life"

The stroke early supported discharge team hired an electric pool car (rather than petrol fueled cars) for initial home visits; scaling up to 2 electric cars would save a forecast 4380kgCO2e in carbon emissions annually.

After the event, CSH hosted a live tweet chat, engaging with the online community about the Green Ward projects and other sustainable quality improvement initiatives. Stay tuned for the full Frimley Green Ward Competition report, that will be posted on the CSH website. You can also join our Sustainable Healthcare Networks to collaborate on sustainability in your clinical specialty or area of interest.