Greening the NHS: using the Green Team Competition to effect change

Wednesday, 19 July, 2023

What can nurses do to address the climate crisis? 

In a series of articles for the Nursing Times, Angela Hayes, a clinical nurse specialist in supportive and palliative care at the Christie NHS Foundation Trust, discusses the practical steps nurses can take to address the climate crisis in their daily practice. In her second paper, she discusses the benefits of holding a Green Team Competition with CSH to encourage sustainable changes to working practice.

The climate crisis presents a global health threat, affecting millions of lives. Carbon dioxide emissions from healthcare are substantial, but health professionals can play a vital role in addressing the climate crisis. To encourage greener ways of working, a trust implemented the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare’s Green Team Competition. The five shortlisted teams proposed projects to improve efficiency and sustainability, leading to considerable estimated savings in financial costs and carbon emissions. This is the second article in a series on what nurses can do to address the climate crisis.
- Angela Hayes, Greening the NHS 2: using the Green Team Competition to effect change, Nursing Times 2023

Angela has led clinical sustainability projects at her trust and supported several of the green teams. She witnessed first hand how initiatives can generate carbon efficiencies, cost savings and benefits for patients, and provides the perfect opportunity to celebrate achievements. 

Earlier this year, for our SusQI Showcase 2023, she presented the palliative care project on behalf of a team led by Alex Langstaff. She discussed how Photobiomodulation treatment for mucositis in patients with base of tongue and tonsillar cancers incorporates sustainable practices at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust.

"Absolutely blown away by the success of this project on so many levels! I’m thrilled that Alex’s fantastic work has shown such dramatic results, and demonstrated perfectly how sustainable ways of working can have so many benefits!"
- Angela Hayes regarding the Green Team Competition and the Photobiomodulation treatment project at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

You can watch the full video on our YouTube channel here: Treating Mucositis with Photobiomodulation Therapy | Sustainability Insights.

Key points from Angela's article

  • Because healthcare contributes substantially to carbon dioxide emissions, health professionals can help address the climate crisis
  • A trust should run a Green Team Competition to encourage sustainable changes to working practice
  • Shortlisted teams’ initiatives generated carbon efficiencies, cost savings and benefits for patients
  • The competition format provided an opportunity to celebrate the achievements
  • Nurses and healthcare leaders have a responsibility and an opportunity to implement the principles of sustainable healthcare

Her full paper is available in pdf format below.