North East and North Cumbria ICS outline sustainability focus

North East and North Cumbria ICS (NENC) has published its first green plan, sharing an ambition to become the greenest region in England by 2030.

In their strategy, they outline the action they are taking to reduce their environmental footprint by reducing waste, using electric vehicles, converting to more sustainable products, and the role of digital transformation.

A faculty for sustainability has been created in the region, with the strategy sharing their aims to increase awareness and embed good practice in local areas to help reduce the climate impact.

The plan outlines next steps for the faculty, including providing workshops, begin training for staff, hosting annual events to showcase work, and to expand into other specialities.

Let’s take a look at what each hospital trust in the North East are doing to support their green plan, with a focus on digital, data, and technology.

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation trust

County Durham and Darlington launched a three-year green plan in April 2021 which identified eight key areas including medicines and clinical care, estates and facilities, and travel and transport.

The trust has created an optional e-learning module entitled “Building a Net Zero NHS” with an 80 percent staff takeout. A Facebook page has been introduced dedicated to green champions, where staff and others can share their learnings and tips.

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust

South Tyneside and Sunderland describe nine key areas in their green plan, including digital transformation. The other areas are energy and carbon management, water, waste and recycling, travel and transport, buildings and green spaces, procurement and food, adapting to climate change and working together.

The trust shares some of the key actions they are taking, including working towards being completely paper-free at the point of care, and undertaking nearly 10,000 virtual consultations in 2020/2021, to reduce unnecessary visits and travel.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Northumbria place the emphasis on data in their green plan to develop an in-depth picture of where emissions can come from. They also provide a strategic focus and carbon-neutral pathway to demonstrate how they intend to achieve their goals.

Another key focus in the trust’s green plan and an example of their innovation is their development of a new technology, including a machine which can melt masks down into plastic blocks, which can then be used to make new products such as kidney trays and containers.

Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

In 2020 CNTW joined several NHS organisations that declared a “climate and ecological emergency.” They aim to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040, with several sustainability goals to be met by 2026.

Alongside this, the trust has created an animation which illustrates a vision of what their sustainable future could look like. It follows ‘Sam’s Story’ from 2021 to 2050 explaining how their green plan works and what may have changed.

Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust

Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust are also working towards a net zero hospital trust. In their plan they describe how they have installed air source heat pumps, with energy being generated from new solar panels.

Other measures include the roll-out of reusable sharp bins, saving on an estimated 16 tonnes of single use plastics, which will save around 90 tonnes of carbon emissions each year.

The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Newcastle Hospitals are committing to become a net zero carbon organisation by 2040. Their strategy highlights the progress they have made with recycling rates, including 43 percent of non-clinical waste. In addition, the trust has 300 green champions, demonstrating its engaged workforce to meet its commitment.

To achieve their ambitions of using less energy, replacing fossil fuel and investigating options to offset or inset residual carbon emissions, the trust shares a number of planned actions including assessing builds for opportunities to increase energy efficiency, increasing investment in energy decarbonisation projects, and collaborating with partners and anchor institutions to accelerate progress.

You can read North East and North Cumbria ICS’s full green plan here.