Climate change poses a major threat to our health as well as our planet.

The environment is changing, that change is accelerating, and this has direct and immediate consequences for our patients, the public and the NHS.

In October 2020, the NHS became the world’s first health service to commit to reaching net zero carbon, in response to the profound and growing threat to health posed by climate change.

The Delivering a Net Zero National Health Service report sets out a clear ambition and two science-based targets.

As part of the Greener NHS programme and NHS standard contract, NHS trusts are required to develop a Green Plan to outline their commitments to reduce environmental impacts and decarbonisation to reach net zero in line with the NHS targets (please see the NHS England website: Greener NHS).

Going greener right across the Trust

The Trust recently became only the second NHS organisation in the country, and first in the south west, to install a Central Destruction Unit (CDU) to make entonox - also known as gas and air - carbon neutral.

In 2023, the Trust also decommissioned the piped supply of nitrous oxide, a gas medically distinct from entonox but a contributing factor to our carbon footprint. This project was made possible by obtaining funding from the Healthier Futures Action Fund via Greener NHS and we were one of 14 successful applicants out of 109 across the South West. The Trust now only uses a small number of nitrous oxide gas cylinders where relevant and will save hundreds of thousands of litres of gas usage every year.

There are a huge number of other green steps that have already been taken to help our organisation become more sustainable, including:

♻ 95% of lighting across the hospital replaced by LED lighting

♻ Launching ACT, an app that encourages fun competition between staff to log their sustainable actions in the workplace

♻ Creating a sustainable wellbeing garden for patients, staff and visitors

♻ Old equipment and mattresses donated to global humanitarian aid overseas

♻ One of just three Trusts in the south west to have been awarded funding that will enable us to continue work to reduce our carbon emissions, by powering the hospital site with low carbon technology.

Our Green Plan

Our first board-approved Green Plan for 2021-2024 outlines the actions and initiatives we aim to deliver to address our sustainability and net zero targets.

Sustainability is fundamental to maintaining high quality care; to help us meet the needs of today without compromising the needs for future generations.

Our environment has a direct impact on our health; since the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, this has become even more apparent.

The virus has placed unprecedented pressure on all areas of the NHS; we must tackle the climate emergency with the same level of significance if we are to safeguard our future from the impacts of climate change.

All our staff will need to play their part in delivering this Green Plan for the Trust to be a truly sustainable organisation.

Integrated Care System

We are part of the Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW) Partnership integrated care system (ICS).

Our ICS helps to improve health and wellbeing of local people, tackle health inequalities, and ensures that high quality health and care services are delivered by bringing together a Clinical Commissioning Group, three hospital trusts, private providers, a mental health trust, an ambulance trust and voluntary sector organisations.

Our ICS is developing a consolidated system-wide Green Plan which will summarise the Green Plans within our ICS.

The ICS Green Plan will develop system-wide priorities, coordination and will also focus on the integration of Trust Green Plans with the efforts of primary care, local authorities and other local care partners.

Energy Centre

Our Energy Centre generates energy that powers the Great Western Hospital site through more sustainable means than the Trust has ever seen before.

The Energy Centre is helping the Trust achieve its NHS Net Zero Carbon target through the installation of Air Source Heat Pumps which work without burning any fossil fuels, and generate a 100% renewable electricity contract.