An initiative to support structured conversations about asthma care and encourage a shift towards lower carbon inhalers, a project to help protect the environment calling on people to recycle tablet blister packs and an ingenious solution to power vehicles with used cooking oil are some of the winners of the Sheep Shed Green Award.
We have been commissioned to deliver the Sheep Shed Green Award programme working in partnership with Humber and North Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership. The awards are designed to promote sustainable practice within the Humber and North Yorkshire region and aim to help progress carbon reduction projects into action.
This is a great opportunity to showcase innovative practice across the region and their commitment to the green agenda. Each of the winners has demonstrated how simple changes will continue to support the delivery of high-quality patient centred care whilst protecting the environment and NHS resources for future generations.
Kathy Scott, Deputy CEO at Yorkshire & Humber AHSN and Chair for the AHSN Network Environmental Sustainability Community of Interest, said:
“It was fantastic to be involved in this award scheme working in collaboration with Humber and North Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership. There is a real passion from health and care partners across the region to improve the environmental sustainability of their services.
Sustainable healthcare services are essential to support the battle against climate change, and innovation has a huge part to play in development. The Sheep Shed Green Award programme has highlighted healthcare teams aspirations for sustainable practice with some great innovative ideas.
It was a difficult task to choose the winners amongst so many applicants with strong green credentials and inspiring solutions. We are looking forward to seeing the outcomes of these initiatives to help tackle the effects of climate change.”
Full details about the winners of this year’s Sheep Shed green award programme are below.
Recycling of medicinal waste products
Dr Rumina Önaç’s initiative – a GP working in York and Sustainability Lead at Nimbuscare – reduces carbon emissions across York primary care services by providing a recycling facility for tablet blister packs in local surgeries and pharmacies.
Tablet blister packs contribute to the NHS carbon footprint as they are made up of complex materials which are not easily recycled. To provide a better idea of their impact, last year Atorvastatin – the most commonly issued tablet with 54 million items dispensed in 2021 – incurred a blister pack carbon footprint equivalent to 2.3 million domestic flights.
The Sheep Shed Green Award will enable Nimbuscare to bulk buy the recycling box units from ReFactory. These will then be placed in various locations across the city. Once full, they will be collected by ReFactory and recycled into ‘storm boards’ which can be made into things like compost bins, play areas, office furniture and animal kennels. Dr Önaç said:
“We believe the boxes could house up to 6,000 blister packs which equates to an approximate saving of 50kg carbon per full box, even after taking transport and collection emissions into account. This scheme will give our residents good access to recycling everyday single-use-plastic, and we believe it will be very popular.”
NAViGO to power vehicles with used cooking oil
NAViGO, a North East Lincolnshire leading mental health service provider, will recycle cooking oil to power its company vehicles.
A biodiesel processor will allow the conversion of cooking oil from the company’s popular Grimsby Garden Centre Potting Shed eatery and inpatient kitchens into biodiesel for its estates, ground maintenance and commercial fleet.
The fuel will also be used to power emergency generators across sites which are used to ensure any power outages do not disrupt care provision for vulnerable inpatients. NAViGO Head of Employment and Commercial Services Jo Keen said:
“As well as the obvious environmental benefits reducing the consumption of fossil fuels brings, it also means cooking oil doesn’t go to waste, it reduces waste disposal costs, provides a low carbon, cheaper fuel for our vehicles and provides a quick win cost saving greener solution to powering emergency generators.
“Like many NHS organisations, we are committed to reaching Net Zero by 2040. Long term, we aim to replace our fleet with fully electric models, but this provides us with a sustainable alternative until they reach the end of their lifespan and means any future surplus can be used elsewhere to support others in the local area. This is quite an innovative approach, and we hope that through our learning we can encourage and support other NHS providers to adopt a similar policy.”
Biodiesel produced from waste is an environmentally sustainable transport fuel offering an alternative to petroleum diesel.
Primary Care Asthma Toolkit
Greener Practice C.I.C is developing visual tools to support better and greener asthma conversations. Dr Aarti Bansal, founder of Greener Practice, said:
“The NHS has been keen to encourage a shift towards lower carbon inhalers in clinically appropriate patients, however, there has been little progress nationally and regionally on this measure so far. This may be because a move to lower carbon inhalers is seen as an environmental rather than a clinical concern. However, for many patients, lower carbon inhalers may also be more clinically suitable. Our plan is to develop visual and template resources that can help support efficient, empowering and person-centred conversations with asthma patients focusing on improving asthma management.
“We are excited to work with N3i to develop these resources and with Meridian Primary Care Network (PCN) where we will pilot and refine our resources. Our aim is to reduce the prescribing of metered dose inhalers by 20% in Meridian PCN over the next 12 months. If we are successful, we will implement this solution for the whole of the region through the sustainability and respiratory networks, PCN networks and GP federations. We will also share tools nationally through the Greener Practice Asthma Toolkit and with template providers”.
Green healthcare CRM system
eHealth Compass has developed the world’s first CRM platform for healthcare which matches patients to care pathways according to their digital readiness. The objective is to match the pathways which are most appropriate for the right patients at that specific time and for their specific needs. This in turn creates more efficiencies, better patient experience, better clinician experience and a cheaper, more targeted approach for the commissioners. It ensures that patients who aren’t digitally ready will not get left behind as these patients who need a more traditional model of care are seen quickly and efficiently due to the increased capacity from patients who are able to undertake digital tasks. One key component that has been built into the platform is the ability to track the carbon footprint of the pathway. Dr James Cowling, Technical Chief Officer at eHealth Compass, said:
“We are delighted to have received funding from Humber and North Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership Sheep Shed Green Award programme and are looking forward to working with the team. We hope to further develop the CO2 measuring capability of our clinical CRM platform to help ensure that digital transformation fully aligns with the green agenda. It would be hugely exciting to see other healthcare providers in the region using eHealth Compass to proactively reduce their CO2 footprint over the next twelve months”.
Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is working on a recycling food waste project that could save up to 50 per cent of food waste disposal costs against landfill, reducing the carbon emissions by ensuring correct treatment of waste. Currently some food waste is being placed into the wrong waste channels meaning there is a cross contamination to other elements which could potentially be recycled.
The trust is working closely with their environmental waste contractor MITIE to ensure the food waste is sent to Refood Yorkshire rather than to landfill.
Refood Yorkshire places all food waste into Anaerobic Digestion, a natural process that biologically breaks down organic material to generate large amounts of biogas, a combination of methane and carbon dioxide. It works in a similar way to a compost heap, only on an industrial scale. And, because of the lack of oxygen, it is possible to capture the biogas, rather than lose it to the atmosphere.
The gas is used to fuel large industrial-scale combined heat and power engines, the electricity generated is delivered directly to the National Grid, enough energy to power 10,000 homes per year. The heat produced by the engines is used to produce hot water and steam for the process and the pasteurisation of the raw food waste. Once the biogas process has been completed, the remaining liquid is transformed into a bio-fertiliser for local farming and agricultural use.
If the pilot proves successful, the results could be shared with other trusts interested in reducing landfill and food waste costs.
If you would like to find out more about the Sheep Shed Green Award programme email firstname.lastname@example.org