Thank you for being a part of CSH in 2020!
2020 has certainly been a year for the books with devastating bushfires, police brutality and, of course, the direct and many indirect health effects of the global pandemic. But some good has come out of the bad: demand for environmental and social justice including Black Lives Matter and linking these two issues to build greater understanding of embedded inequalities; ramping up of commitments to net zero carbon emissions worldwide and an appreciation of the importance of greenspace during periods of lockdown.
The England NHS has shown fantastic leadership this year, being the first national health service to make a net zero commitment.
If there is one thing which gives us hope, it would be that rapid adaptation is possible. Many of us have moved to an appreciation of the positives of online meetings; communities have organised themselves to support the vulnerable; and teams of doctors are innovating to design re-usable PPE equipment and streamlined health care delivery.
Here at CSH, we have seen an upswing in health professionals wanting to be involved in our work, with clinicians organising sustainable fellowships with us, and fantastic volunteers joining our team.
We have also seen an influx of health professionals and others joining our sustainable healthcare courses, to support them to take climate action in their workplace. The courses which launched online this year received great feedback from attendees, and inspired us to bring a further set of sustainability courses in the New Year: Teaching Sustainable Quality Improvement and Public Health Leadership for Sustainability will be running in January; Dentistry and GP will follow soon.
Rachel Stancliffe, director of the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare,
Alongside all the great projects, a highlight of the year for me has been the fantastic dedication of our staff, adapting to remote working - sometimes with children off school, and supporting each other within the team in new ways. We are delighted to have hired two core staff members without which we could not have achieved so much: Vivien, who - in 2 days a week - has done amazing work on our comms, and Patricia who has bravely taken on the task of administering for the team as well as managing the online courses.
We are VERY sad to be losing Sarah Dandy, who is going back to the classroom to teach some lucky children. Over the past 11 years, Sarah has led the NHS Forest project from design to delivery. Her determination and passion have seen us through excitements and difficult times and I’m sure that everyone of you who has worked with her over that time will join me in thanking her for her great energy and formidable skills. She will stay on part-time until the end of Feb.
The following are some of our project highlights of the year:
To finish the year, in December we were successful in receiving funding from the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund to expand our Green Space for Health Programme. This will allow us to increase tree planting across NHS sites as part of the NHS Forest and grow skills in this area, embed Nature Recovery Rangers at three NHS sites and train up apprentices working alongside them. In addition, the programme will provide therapeutic nature-based wellbeing sessions for health staff at five NHS sites, and will also train staff to run their own sessions. We are excited to get this programme up and running, and are currently recruiting three positions for early next year: Partnerships and Project Manager, Outreach Officer, and a Communications and Engagement Officer.
Green walking for mental health recovery
In May, we launched ‘Green Walking in Mental Health Recovery’, a national initiative for adult psychiatric inpatients to improve their access to green spaces and increase their physical activity. There was overwhelmingly positive feedback from both service users and staff in eight Green Beacon sites trialing Green Walking Groups across the NHS.
Cutting carbon, improving care
Our Green Ward competitions at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital NHS Foundation trust (RBCH) and the Frimley Health NHS foundation trust were a huge success in cutting carbon, improving patient care and saving money. The teams displayed innovation and leadership in designing their projects, with Frimley Health NHS foundation trust receiving a forecast annual saving of 424 tonnes CO2e in carbon emissions and £12,417, and the RBCH projects having a forecasted annual saving of 16,393kj CO2e and £37,042 when projects are fully implemented and embedded.
Green Spaces and their role in staff wellbeing
As part of the our Space to Breathe project, we conducted a year long study in collaboration with the University of Essex and with support from the Health Foundation, to determine how Green Space at NHS sites affect staff wellbeing. Our research showed that gardens and other green spaces at hospital sites have an important role to play in supporting staff wellbeing, and that there is a strong appetite among health staff to take time outdoors - either for breaks or in the course of work.
Bee Healthy Plant Borders
In collaboration with the Trust for Oxfordshire's Environment and Wild Oxfordshire we developed the Bee Healthy Project which helped GP surgeries create plant borders with nectar-rich herbaceous perennials, providing food to bumblebees and other pollinators. From this, we launched the Bee Healthy Project Guide which outlined practical information for community organisations that wish to create their own Bee Healthy plant borders.
Sustainable Quality Improvement Free Resources
With increasing interest in our Sustainable Quality Improvement course, we released a new website dedicated to Sustainable Quality Improvement, packed full of useful, free resources. On this website, there is an educators pack, template teaching sessions and case studies to help design and run a Sustainable Quality Improvement project.
Addressing “hot topics” in sustainable healthcare
This year, we were awarded funding through Q by the Health Foundation, and NHS England and NHS Improvement to launch a series of 4 virtual events addressing hot topics in sustainable healthcare. Our first event of the series posed the question, ‘Remote Consultations: what’s their role in sustainable healthcare?’, and we heard from expert speakers in primary care, secondary care and from NHS digital. The event connected Q community members and those interested in sustainable healthcare, to bring out some great debate and discussion on this hot topic.
We would like to thank all those individuals and organisations who made it possible for us to bring these sustainability projects to life: our Trustees, Fellows and Scholars, our colleagues in other organisations, our volunteers and our funders. The whole team at CSH wishes you a great, safe, festive break, and hope you have a chance to reflect and refresh for the New Year.
Rachel, Inge, Frances, Jacqueline, Carey, Stefi, Sarah, Olivia, Ben, Andriele, Siobhan, Rosie, Patricia and Vivien