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ED consultant Sue is helping to save the planet as well as lives

Image shows a woman standing

Consultant Sue West-Jones is combining her passion for the environment with her job to help deliver more sustainable healthcare in Swansea Bay.

Working in Morriston Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED), Sue is one of three staff to be appointed as the health board’s new Sustainable Clinical Leads.

Image shows a woman standing This means that as well as fulfilling her responsibilities in a busy and demanding ED, Sue also strives to embed sustainability not only on her own department, but across the health board to meet climate change objectives.

Sue will work closely with colleagues and staff groups to encourage, promote and develop ideas to help deliver more sustainable healthcare and, where possible, also save the health board money.

PICTURED: Sue West-Jones is one of three health board staff to be named as a Sustainable Clinical Lead.

She said: “For most of my life, my second thought of every day has been the planet. I haven’t always got it right, of course, but there is not a single day that has passed that I haven’t thought about the environment.

“From the age of six I understood the harm of harpooning Whales and from there my passion of all things environmental emerged.

“Our new sustainable roles are a resource for all staff who work in clinical areas to offer ideas and seek support for sustainable change. We will be raising awareness, offering education and hope that each and every action we take will accumulate into a wave of positive green change.

“This is Plan A because there is no Planet B.”

Sue is joined in the new Sustainable Clinical Lead role by Consultant Anaesthetist Elana Owen and Alexandra Strong, Manager of the Jill Rowe Neurology Ambulatory Unit.

Image shows a woman standing They will initially focus on making their departments more sustainable and environmentally friendly before branching out to other Swansea Bay services.

Sue said: “All areas of healthcare provide us with the opportunity to work more sustainably. Working more sustainably means we can all take actions to address waste and explore lower carbon alternatives in every aspect of the patient pathway.

PICTURED: Sue treats paediatric and adults who have various injuries or illnesses.

“Emergency medicine is particularly challenging under the current climate, but creating a ‘Green ED’ is a brilliant opportunity for the team to save money and carbon, and improve patient care.

“The entire NHS produces four per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions. The issue is that we can’t not produce carbon in our daily activities, but exploring sustainable alternatives will help us achieve net zero.

“It’s essentially about care, cost and carbon.

“Swansea Bay can be a leader in change. The next leader will hopefully be the NHS, and then the rest of the UK.

“But attitude is fundamental to this. There is 1.4 million of us working in the NHS, so that gives you an idea of how big a change we can all make.

Image shows a woman standing “Small change can make a big difference, it doesn’t have to be on a major scale. It can have a really positive ripple effect.

“We want to incorporate enough small changes into every part of the patient journey to make a very big difference at the end.

PICTURED: Sue outside the Emergency Department at Morriston Hospital.

Sue has spent the last 13 years in Morriston ED. Yet her career could have been very different had it not been for having a coffee in a hospital café 32 years ago.

Sue said: “Medicine was a late career choice for me. My first degree was in Psychology and Sociology at Brunel in West London. Afterwards I was involved in clinical psychology research before financial management in the NHS.

“I started my medical degree in my late 20s having decided to enter medicine, which was purely by chance.

“It wasn’t until I heard a group of white-coated - as they were then - medical students chatting about anatomy that sparked something in me.

“I knew I needed a change, so I resigned as a NHS Financial Management trainee and started again by attending Leicester Medical School before completing my training in Emergency Medicine in the Nottingham region.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working within the Morriston ED team, and now I’ve got added responsibility as a Sustainable Clinical Lead, and I’m very excited to start that role too.”

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