Thirsk Doctors Surgery is committed to making a difference in our local community and reducing our environmental impact. The climate crisis is the biggest public health issue we are facing and we believe it is essential to make changes to work towards a better, healthier, future for all.
It is reported that the NHS contributes 5.4% of the UK’s carbon emissions.
We are a registered Green Practice and have just achieved our bronze award demonstrating continuing commitment to reduce our carbon footprint. We have involved our staff and Patient Participation Group in making 10 pledges to our community:
- To reduce the use of paper: specifically to only print onto paper when absolutely necessary. Use electronic communication instead as much as is feasible such as by sending prescriptions and documents electronically. When documents are required to printed to use double sided printing
- To reduce single use plastics; this includes investing in re-usable PPE, re-usable sharps bins and to only wear gloves for clinically appropriate procedures as per updated covid guidance
- To reuse materials as much as possible, such as repurposing office equipment and donating unused equipment or medical equipment to charities
- To recycle materials: paper, carboard, glass, plastic. In the pharmacy this includes recycling plastic inhalers and medication packaging by partaking in local recycling schemes.
- To reduce our carbon footprint when prescribing medications, such as by swapping some medications to a lower carbon alternative e.g. certain inhalers. This has been shown to have one of the biggest impacts on how changes within healthcare can help our environment.
- Reducing our carbon footprint from travel. Encourage staff and patients to use an environmentally friendly method in order to reach the surgery such as bike or electric car. We will look to support this as a feasible option by installing bike racks and an electric charging point.
- Waste disposal: engaging in local initiatives to dispose of waste to reduce the carbon and financial cost, this includes equipment that cannot be repaired
- To join the ‘greener practice’ group of general practices to demonstrate commitment to reducing waste in health care. We would be a pioneer in our local area as there are currently only just over 1000 practices who have joined this initiative in the UK. We will review our progress on a regular basis and continually look at how we can further engage in innovative schemes
- To nominate a group of champions to lead the greener NHS movement within Thirsk Doctors surgery
- Report back to our patients on our progress and invite the local community to become involved