Climate change poses a major threat to our health as well as our planet. Around 5% of the UK’s carbon emissions come from the NHS. This is through our buildings, equipment, medicines and waste.
Why greener and why now?
We are one of the largest employers in South Tyneside and Sunderland. It is our responsibility to do what we can to protect our environment. We also want people in our local communities to stay healthy. We know that we have more long term health conditions. We also know that people don't live as long in South Tyneside and Sunderland than in other areas of the country. Climate change will only make this worse. We want to work with patients, the public, our partners and our staff to make long lasting changes. We want to create healthcare services that will help people for years to come. We also want to run these services in a way that will have a positive impact on future generations.
Becoming a greener South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust
As part of our commitment to change, we are focusing on nine key areas. These are energy and carbon management, water, waste and recycling, travel and transport, buildings and green spaces, procurement and food, digital transformation, adapting to climate change and working together.
Key things we are doing
- Sustainability is one of our key strategic objectives. We have appointed a climate change lead and created a climate change plan.
- Since April 2019 we have brought in 100% renewable electricity. This has resulted in an 80% reduction in emissions.
- We are replacing all our lights with LEDs. These lights last much longer and are much more energy efficient.
- We have dedicated energy centres on our two main hospital sites. This is helping us to use greener heating systems which combine heating and power units. So far this has saved us over 5,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
- By 2030 all our Trust vehicles will be electric. We have also installed electric charging points across our main sites. We plan to have many more in the coming years.
- Some anaesthetic gases and medicines are not good for the environment. We will stop using those and use others instead.
- We are using less plastic and buying more things that we can use more than once.
- All the paper we buy will be 100% recycled by 2022/23.
- We are one of the most digitally advanced Trusts in the NHS and are working toward being completely paper free at the point of care.
- We undertook 9,750 consultations by telephone or virtually in 2020/21. This reduced unnecessary visits to our Trust sites.