It will be no surprise to you that we included a dedicated Sustainability Report in the Trust’s recently published Annual Report and Accounts for 2018-19. As an organisation, and as individuals, we have to take responsibility for our environmental impact.
Team ASPH is making significant strides in reducing the negative impact on the environment but we still have a long way to go. One way we measure our environmental impact is through our ‘carbon footprint’. Since 2008 we have achieved an estimated 14% reduction in our carbon footprint at a time when the Trust’s activities have grown significantly (as measured by operating expenditure, the Trust’s activity has increased by 54% since 2008). This is positive but overall the NHS has a target to reduce emissions by 34% by 2020.
I wholeheartedly endorse what we say in this year’s Annual Report: ‘As a large local employer and healthcare provider we have a responsibility to minimise pollution that contributes to local and global health and environmental issues.’
As we plan ahead we need to minimise our negative environmental impact in both our day-to-day operations and as part of transformational plans.
We are making good progress in being more environmentally sustainable in the Trust’s everyday work. Falcon and Joan Booker wards did a great job in reducing clinical waste last year. Staff restaurants stopped using polystyrene take-away containers replacing them with cardboard, and drinks can be bought at a discount using reusable cups. We have plans to make much more progress this year. We are continuing the ‘Green Ward’ work to reduce waste, especially of single-use plastics. We’ve introduced Latex recycling at Ashford theatres - if this proves to be successful we’ll roll this out to day surgery and main theatres. And we’re expanding how we segregate recyclable items.
The transformation of estates and buildings provides us with an opportunity to make a step change. We’re planning to demolish some inefficient and out-of-date buildings – some dating from the 1930s – with new energy efficient purpose built facilities. We’re also looking to enhance green spaces for the benefit and enjoyment of colleagues, patients, visitors and local people.
The challenge we face while we build the new multi-deck car park at St Peter’s offers us all an opportunity to rethink our travel options. For seven months from October 2019 there will be fewer car parking spaces at St Peter’s for colleagues and SABP staff so we all have to think about how we get to work. Everyone based at St Peter’s will be asked to re-consider how we travel to work. Perhaps we could car share, take public transport or cycle? All of these options have less of an environmental impact than one person coming in a car on their own, so I will also have to do some thinking and planning! The small changes we make now, added together with others, will help us progress this ambition as well as changing the way we think about things like travel and consumption.
Of course there are added benefits to reducing our carbon footprint; like the improvement of air quality and the consequent health benefits, not to mention the opportunity to, over time, reduce demand on the hospital by promoting a healthier environment. So you can see we have a whole range of reasons to do our bit!
Have a great weekend.
With very best wishes,