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Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Sustainability in practice

According to The Lancet, climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.  Sustainable healthcare is the provision of good quality healthcare today without compromising that of future generations.  We need to deliver high quality care without exhausting financial, social or environmental resources as we do so. 

The NHS is one of the largest employers and represents 3% of the UK’s total CO2 emissions. With over 17000 members of staff, changing attitudes and behaviours towards more sustainable ways of working has not been a small task.  However, the clear commitment given from the very senior levels of the organisation has provided the necessary strong leadership to drive forward our sustainability performance.  

By reviewing our practices and procedures in relation to waste disposal, we have reduced the amount of clinical waste produced by each patient by 14%. Overall we have reduced our carbon emissions by 7.8% per patient since the launch of our sustainability campaign three years ago.

We continue to develop one of the largest and most efficient hospital power stations in the country.  Working closely with our energy provider and the University of Leeds to ensure that the latest and most efficient technology is installed, our pioneering combined heat and power (CHP) plant located on the Leeds General Infirmary site is being refurbished and upgraded over the next five years, making a saving of 3000 tonnes of CO2 per annum year. Through a combination of plant upgrades and site rationalisation we have saved £400k and 2,500 tonnes of CO2 at our Seacroft hospital site.

We have begun a programme of installing electric vehicle charging points at our hospitals to help incentivise staff wishing to make the switch to electric vehicles. We have a comprehensive suite of efficiency management policies and the Trust’s fleet has been awarded 4* in recognition of this by ECO Stars, making our fleet one of the greenest NHS fleets in the country.  In addition to this we have 2 electric vehicles within our fleet.

We have a comprehensive suite of efficiency management policies and the Trust’s fleet has been awarded 4* in recognition of this by ECO Stars, making our fleet one of the greenest NHS fleets in the country

We also have an active network of committed and passionate sustainability champions, who have promoted the Trust’s switch off and dry waste recycling campaigns.

We acknowledge the positive social value that green spaces can bring, so we launched a range of edible food gardens across our hospital estate.  The gardens bring a range of benefits to staff and patients by improved sense of wellbeing, supporting urban food growing and reducing levels of obesity.  

Our 2020 vision is to be one of the greenest Trusts in the UK by 2020.  We are fully committed to becoming a sustainable organisation and will embed environmental and social improvement into our day to day business activities.  We have launched a comprehensive Sustainable Development Management Plan with stringent carbon reduction targets.  We have also begun the process of embedding an environmental management system with the intention of seeking external verification for ISO14001 accreditation.

Julian Hartley Chief Executive said: “Everyone has a part to play in improving the environment for future generations. It is especially important that large organisations such as LTHT put systems in place to be more sustainable and the GRASP campaign will enable us to achieve our aim of being one of the greenest Trusts in the UK by 2020. Green initiatives such as this demonstrate our commitment to doing our bit to help protect the planet.”