Looking after your health also includes looking after the environment we live in. Pembroke Road Surgery are making changes to become more environmentally and socially sustainable through the Green Impact Programme.
By making these improvements we can help reduce our carbon footprint and improve the health and wellbeing of both our patients and staff.
Some key areas for implementation in the Green Impact Toolkit include:
- Reducing prescribing
- Improving our energy efficiency
- Sourcing food and drink responsibly and avoiding use of plastic where possible
- Reducing waste and increasing recycling
- Promoting sustainable transport for patients and staff
- Purchasing sustainably (e.g. rechargeable batteries, recycled paper)
- Reducing our use of paper
This section will be updated as we progress through the goals outlined in the Green Impact Toolkit. Please take a moment to read the pages below to find out what we have done so far and what you can do to help.
What are we doing?
Below are the changes we have made so far to improve our sustainability as a GP practice.
- The practice encourages all staff to recycle domestic and food waste in the appropriate bins.
- All staff within the practice are aware of the difference between waste bins (clinical, offensive, hazardous and domestic waste).
- All printer ink cartridges are recycled.
- Staff are asked to print all documents double-sided where possible and to save any non-confidential paper to be used as scrap paper for note taking.
- The practice has employed a social prescribing link worker to prescribe and encourage non-pharmaceutical interventions to patients affected by chronic health conditions, mental health problems and social isolation.
- The practice has reviewed the proportion of dry powder inhalers (DPIs) used compared to metered dose inhalers (MDIs). MDIs release hydroflurocarbons and account for an estimated 4% of the entire NHS footprint. DPIs have a much lower carbon footprint and are clinically appropriate for many patients.
- The practice has a system in place to review patients on 10 or more prescriptions to prevent unnecessary polypharmacy.
- Our doctors receive guidance on optimisation of prescribing medicines to help improve medicines safety and reduce costs for the NHS.
- The practice encourages patient self-care to give patients a sense of ownership over their condition and empowers them to take care of themselves as much as possible. This can also result in reduced patient travel to the surgery and a better quality of life.
- We are a breastfeeding friendly practice with patient access to a private area for feeding. 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. Breastfeeding has proven maternal and infant health and wellbeing benefits which translate into reduced demand on healthcare services.
- The practice promotes physical exercise to patients. Prescribing exercise for patients has been advocated for over 20 years. Physical activity has significant benefits to physical and mental illness as well as all cause mortality. Physical inactivity is estimated to cost the UK £7.4 billion a year, and have significant impact on the environment due to health care related carbon footprint and single use plastic useage. There is evidence that a specific exercise prescription is more effective than general advice to be more active.
What can patients do?
As the practice works towards becoming more sustainable we are encouraging patients to become more sustainble too.
Below are some ideas of small changes that can help the environment and maybe save you money too!
Recycle Your Old Inhalers
'Complete the cycle' is a national scheme by GlaxoSmithKline, to help reduce the environmental burden of inhalers, by recycling your old inhalers via local pharmacies. Not disposing of your inhaler correctly can be harmful to the environment.
Metered dose inhalers (MDI) release hydroflurocarbons and account for an estimated 4% of the entire NHS greenhouse gas footprint. With the 'Complete the cycle' scheme all inhaler types are accepted and by recycling your inhalers you will be helping to mitigate the environmental impact of inhalers.
If you do need to travel to the surgery for an appointment, consider alternatives to driving such as walking, cycling or public transport.
Find out what are we doing to help our staff.
- The majority of our doctors commute to work by bicycle and clinical staff have access to an eBike for home visits.
- Regular staff social activities such as away days, annual staff camping trip.
- All staff have been advised of ways to look after their health in the workplace during heatwaves.
- Staff room feedback and gratitude board.
- Regular wellbeing section in monthly 'Team Talk' practice newsletter, includes tips for self-care, couch to 5km etc.
- Info to staff about physio recommended workplace exercises to encourage physical wellbeing in the workplace and around the building.
- The practice have arranged for a supply of face masks to be made available to all staff for personal use during the Covid-19 pandemic.
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