Welcome to Green Impact for Health
'It is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global’.
Green Impact for Health is a tried and tested formula developed by the RCGP and NUS. It has already been used over 100 General Practices across the country. Put simply it is an online DIY guide to help you make General Practice more environmentally sustainable. Sustainable Healthcare is the concept of providing healthcare in a way that is beneficial to patients without harming the planet.
The Beacon Health Group have taken up the challenge as a practice to improve our sustainability and environmental impact; reduce harmful impacts on planetary health, the risks of climate change and aiming for a bronze award very soon.
If you are interested please visit the website or speak to Elle Cronin. Resources about sustainability in healthcare are also saved in the S Drive in the new Green Impact folder to provide up to date information. Below are a number of changes we are putting in place to gain our bronze award that are hopefully of interest to our staff.
There's only ONE You
Making better choices today can have a big impact on your health. One You is here to help you get healthier and feel better with free tips, tools and support. Whether it's moving more, eating more healthily or checking yourself – One You can help you make small, practical changes that fit in with your life.
You can get help improving your activity levels with physical exercise, quitting smoking, and take a quiz to check your overall health and wellbeing via www.nhs.uk/oneyou/how-are-you-quiz/.
We are also in the process of becoming a Parkrun Practice, supporting the local Parkruns (when up and running again) and encourage our staff and patients to consider taking part. More information about how to get involved can be found at: www.parkrun.org.uk/.
Clinical, offensive and hazardous wastes have greater environmental impacts than domestic waste, and have a significantly higher disposal cost. Please double check the waste bins which are all clearly labelled to ensure you deposit waste in the correct place. As a surgery we are attempting to improve our waste, reuse, and recycling facilities and will update staff shortly.
GSK "Complete the Cycle" Inhaler Recycling Scheme
73 million respiratory inhalers are prescribed every year in the UK and not disposing of them correctly can be harmful to our environment. New research shows that 58% of people in the UK are putting their used inhalers into their home waste bin, where it can end up at landfill or being incinerated.
Complete the Cycle was set up in the UK in 2011. By the end of 2017, over 1.2 million inhalers were recycled and recovered. This saved carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to taking 5,199 cars off UK roads. Complete the Cycle is an easy and convenient way to recycle your inhalers. This scheme helps to reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions, moving towards a more environmentally sustainable treatment of respiratory disease.
Posters are going up for local collection points to each site of the The Beacon Health Group and we hope this will help patients to dispose of them in the best way possible. For more information click here.
As part of our challenge to be more sustainable, The Beacon Health Group has agreed to start purchasing Fairtrade tea and coffee for staff from now on.
Fairtrade products guarantee a fixed price for some of the lowest paid farmers in the developing world. There is also a fixed community premium that goes towards community development projects. Fairtrade is a simple way to make a difference to the lives of the people who grow the things we love. We do this by making trade fair. Environmental protection is a key element of Fairtrade’s view of sustainability.
Fairtrade Standards require smallholder farmer and larger hired labour production set-ups to comply in key areas. The Standards also promote training for farmers, which can include advice on switching to environmentally friendly practices. This has been shown to lead to good agricultural practices, which have encouraged environmentally sustainable production. The Standards also guide producers in adapting to climate change and mitigate their impact.
Ecosia: the Tree-Planting Search Engine
We would like to support the ongoing use of Ecosia, which works as a normal search engine but uses revenue to fund tree planting. Please update your default search engine on surgery computers and laptops to Ecosia within the Google Chrome browser by going to www.ecosia.org/ and click “Add Ecosia to Chrome” and follow the instructions. For every 45 searches you will plant a tree!
Being a Breastfeeding Positive Practice
The Beacon Health Group welcomes breastfeeding on site, and has saved resources in our S Drive in the Green Impact folder. We are promoting this with posters in the waiting rooms. The UK has one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding in the world, with just 34 per cent of babies receiving breast milk at six months of age, compared to 62 per cent in Sweden. By encouraging mothers and offering as much as support as we can we hope to have a positive impact on these statistics.
More information can be found at: www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/about/breastfeeding-in-the-uk/
What is the Green Impact award?
The Green Impact award aims to increase sustainability within the GP service. This award aims to help people understand the social responsibility surrounding our environment and ways in which we can work together to reduce the impact on our environment. The Green Impact award has allowed the practice to make some excellent changes towards being more eco-friendly and helping the local environment as well as acknowledging and supporting the work already done within the practice. Having achieved the Bronze Green Impact award, the practice will now strive to further its involvement with the award scheme by completing the silver and gold levels of the award.
In 2018 the Green Impact award scheme worked with GP practices nationwide, saving a minimum of 37,700kg of carbon, which annually has been increasing since. This shows how extensive the impact of this scheme is and why the Beacon Health Group has endeavoured to complete it.
Why did we do it?
When we found out we were participating in the Green Impact award we were very excited, this is because both of us find the Green Impact award very important award to strive toward in the modern era. The main reason we participated in it as we know that healthcare accounts for nearly 5% of all CO2 emissions and we believe that it needs to change. The Green Impact award is especially significant during the “COVID era” in which we can bring changes into the Beacon Health Group easier as there is less patient traffic in the surgeries.
As part of this award we pushed for the practice to become more aware of small actions to help recycle and reuse waste paper and print double sided where possible. We also pioneered a new waste paper basket system where paper can be reused instead of being permanently thrown away. Furthermore we promoted training for all staff to be more aware of the impact they have on the environment and how to minimise it. The process of achieving the award was also beneficial to us as we learned valuable life skills such as teamwork, how to make action plans and how to be more proactive in projects such as this one as well as helping to improve the environment impact of our community.
Written by Fleur and Ian
Danbury Community Volunteers working at Danbury Medical Centre