Six Swansea Bay teams were amongst the first staff in Wales to showcase their innovative work at a new sustainability awards event.
The Green Team Competition, a new regional partnership initiative between Swansea Bay and Hywel Dda health boards, invited entries for projects that reduce the NHS carbon footprint.
Each team presented their project, highlighting the carbon emissions savings, any financial savings, social impact and clinical outcomes.
The Swansea Bay winning team was clinical pharmacy for their project which helps patients swap from Metered Dose Inhalers (MDIs) to Dry Powder Inhalers (DPIs), where appropriate. In 10 weeks, a 79 per cent reduction in carbon emissions was achieved as DPIs do not contain potent greenhouse gases.
PICTURED: Carys Howell and Rebecca Gilman from the winning clinical pharmacy team.
When rolled out across the health board, it is estimated the project will save 4,518 tCO2e of annual emissions - the equivalent of driving 13,014,746.5 miles a year in an average car - as well as improving patient condition management and releasing GP time.
Carys Howell, who helped deliver the clinical pharmacy team’s project, said: “We are thrilled to have won and showcase the work we are currently undertaking to make inhaler prescribing more sustainable across Swansea Bay UHB.
“Climate change significantly impacts on our patients’ health and can be particularly detrimental to those with respiratory illnesses, which is why we all need to take action and move to prescribing greener inhalers. These small changes can have a powerful impact on carbon footprint savings.
“This competition has provided us with the opportunity and the tools needed to encourage more sustainable prescribing, and improve our patients care - not only for now, but for the future.”
Two further Swansea Bay teams received highly commended awards for their work.
The anaesthetics team’s elective theatres shutdown check, which safely switches off anaesthetic machines, fan, lights and computers, saves 4,574 tCO2e and £26,000 annually.
PICTURED: Sian Harrop-Griffiths speaks to the audience during the event.
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) team was also recognised for its work in reducing single use infant feeding equipment and recycling instead of disposing them into clinical waste. Annually, the project can save emissions of 2.4 tCO2e and close to £800.
Siân Harrop-Griffiths, Swansea Bay University Health Board’s Director of Strategy, said: “We set up the Sustainable Swansea Bay Steering Group 18 months ago. The enthusiasm, commitment and drive from our clinical and operational teams to embrace the sustainability and decarbonisation agenda is overwhelming.
"The work has been driven by three factors: reducing our carbon footprint; improving quality of care and outcomes, and improving efficiency and financial savings.
"I look forward to seeing this work grow and evolve across the health board and more widely so the benefits can be shared.”
Kerry Broadhead, Assistant Director of Strategy and health board lead for sustainability, said: "In just 10 weeks, six teams created and delivered projects that will save an estimated 574 tCO2e and £34,000 as well as improved patient experience and savings in GP appointments.
"It’s a fantastic outcome and the teams should be proud of what they’ve achieved.
"I’m looking forward to continuing to support their work and that of others to create a greener, cleaner and healthier Swansea Bay.”
The awards judging panel included Hazel Powell, Swansea Bay University Health Board Deputy Director of Nursing, Lisa Wise, Welsh Government’s Deputy Director for Climate Change and Nuala Hampson from the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare.
PICTURED: The successful event took place at Swansea's Waterfront Museum.
As well as being presented with their awards, the winning teams also received cheques for £600 to invest in their work. Judith Paget, NHS Wales Chief Executive; Health and Social Services Minister Eluned Morgan; Chief Medical Officer Frank Atherton and Chief Nursing Officer Sue Tranka sent videos congratulations.
The competition was supported by the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare and Welsh Government, and received sponsorship from Respiratory Innovation Wales, Natural UK along with event organising support from Kyron Media.
It followed the green organising principles set by the two health boards with digital tickets, locally sourced and seasonal produce. Locally crafted sustainable awards and leftover food were also packaged into seaweed and plant based containers courtesy of NotPla and delivered to Dinas Fechan and Ty Tom Jones hostels, which supports people who are homeless in Swansea.
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