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July 7, 2023

Focus on sustainability at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust

Four nurses in one car as part of Bolton NHS Foundation Trust sustainability

Staff at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust have placed a huge focus on sustainability during a dedicated Sustainability Week (26-30 June).

Lots of useful resources were shared as well as quick hints and tips on how everyone can help Bolton NHS Foundation Trust become a more sustainable organisation.

The week was vital for the Trust to understand and manage the key environmental impacts of its energy use, travel, water, use of natural resources, waste, and carbon emissions.

With an estate made up of a large and busy acute hospital with ageing buildings and infrastructure, the hospital site and some community buildings consume a significant quantity of resources and have a large carbon footprint.

Recognising the impact on the environment and their responsibility to integrate sustainability, the Trust’s Green Plan provides an organisation-wide strategy that outlines the plan of action until 2025.

This plan aims to deliver more sustainable healthcare; improving the quality of care while enhancing resilience, sustainability and wellbeing in preparation for future pressures and challenges.

Tom Mitchell, iFM Sustainability Manager at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust said:

Having recently joined the team here at iFM Bolton, I’m excited to put some positive changes in place to promote sustainability and reduce our carbon footprint, both across clinical teams and the facilities and estates teams.

“We can all work together to achieve the best outcomes for our staff, patients and visitors but ultimately for the environment.

“Sustainability Week has given us the opportunity the shine a light on our Green Plan initiatives and encourage our colleagues to get involved by becoming a Green Champion or to make individual pledges to bring about change.

Lady in cycling gear with her bike

Staff are encouraged to reduce waste wherever possible, including through a recent campaign to use less plastic gloves, as they are one of the most common single-use plastic items in healthcare.

Rick Catlin, Deputy Director of Infection, Prevention and Control at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said:

We will always do what is right to ensure our patients are looked after safely, as well as protecting our staff, but we must also be mindful of our impact on the environment.

“Hand hygiene is usually more effective in protecting staff and patients, and while medical gloves are a really important part of personal protective equipment they aren’t needed a lot of the time and can do more harm than good, especially to the environment.

Throughout Sustainability Week, the Emergency Department launched the Green ED campaign, as part of the Trust’s wider sustainability efforts.

This included looking at the Royal College of Emergency Medicines’ Green ED framework and integrating it with staff to promote being more green throughout the working day.

Hannah Baird, Emergency Department Junior Doctor at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, added:

We achieved over 100 staff pledges – ranging from individuals bringing their own coffee cups and Tupperware and having meat free days, to looking into how we can use metered dose inhalers and reduce sticker printing.

“Staff also used the opportunity to think about saving fuel and together we saved over 80 miles, with staff car sharing and cycling for the week.

“Other initiatives such as the ED clothes swap were born and a plan to grow our own ED veg in the garden. Most importantly however, it got people talking and reflecting on how Green they are and what they could do.

“We are hoping to keep working towards the Green ED agenda and update on future progress to the Trust Green Group.

To help understand where improvements can be made around transport, the Trust has also recently completed a survey of how staff travel to work to help inform any necessary improvements and work towards becoming a more sustainable organisation.

Throughout the rest of the year, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust plan to promote sustainability, including:

  • A focus on recycling
  • Improved ways to measure sustainability
  • Cycle to work initiatives
  • A reduction in the use of disposables
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