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  • Writer's pictureHealthwatch Hampshire

Celebrating recycling week and a greener NHS – good for people and the planet

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 patients, the public and the NHS.



Frimley Health and Care’s green plan has a vision to:


'Improve the health and wellbeing of local people whilst reducing environmental impact to net zero and outlines how partner organisations can play a key role in protecting local communities from the effects of climate change.'


Although the NHS can make many changes to the way things are done within healthcare settings, they can’t achieve their ambitions without the help of local people taking small actions to make those big differences.


Many people don’t consider the environmental impact of healthcare and medicines but do recognise what is good for the planet is often good for us too and that’s why we’re supporting your local NHS in asking people to:


· Return walking aids to the dedicated box you will find at the 3 main Frimley hospital sites in the area, even if they are damaged

· Think about how you travel to appointments or to visit someone receiving treatment or care – do you need to take the car?

· Recycle your medication blister packs at participating Superdrug stores

· Speak to your healthcare team if you use an inhaler – They can help you learn more about modern options that better support you to manage your condition and help the environment by releasing less carbon. You can also ensure that when you’ve finished with your inhaler, you return it to the pharmacy for correct disposal – Don’t put it in your household bin.

· Check your medicine cupboard. Make sure you only get what you need and so save things going out of date and therefore into the bin. Dispose of any unused or out of date medicines correctly.

· Look at the alternatives – Did you know if you use an insulin pen then pre-filled Novo Nordisk pens can be recycled. PenCycling could not be simpler and is completely free of charge. To get started, collect a PenCycle return box from your nearest participating pharmacy, or order some here

· Tell others – help us spread the word about these small things local people can do to help us in our ambitions and collective work towards improving our environment


Sarah Taylor, Head of Sustainability for Frimley Health and Care Integrated Care System said

“The health of patients and local people is our priority in any environmental decisions made about healthcare. However, we often find that what’s good for the patient is actually better for the planet too.


Since the inception of the green plan, we have made significant changes to behind the scenes processes that are positive for the patient and the environment. Changes to the types of inhalers patients are prescribed is just one of these examples. Healthcare teams work closely with the patient to ensure the inhaler prescribed empowers them to better manage their condition and the secondary benefit is too the environment through reduced carbon emissions.


It’s time for the environment and health to be discussed together and for each of us to pledge to make a small change so why not start with one of our suggestions above.”


If you would like to know more about the ambitions laid out in the Frimley Health and Care Draft Green Plan visit https://www.frimleyhealthandcare.org.uk/greenplan

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