Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has declared a climate emergency, recognising climate change as one of the biggest threats to public health.

This declaration, which was made by the Trust Board at its meeting yesterday (Thursday 19 December) and was applauded by a well-attended big conversation summit today, signals Gloucestershire Hospital’s commitment to further reducing carbon emissions and prioritising this agenda alongside other national and local priorities.

Deborah Lee, CEO, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “Climate change is not just an environmental issue, there is now good evidence that climate change is the greatest threat to public health in the 21st century. As one of the largest employers in Gloucestershire we have a responsibility to tackle climate change but this decision is not about obligation, it’s about the Boards vision and ambition to make a real difference for our staff, our patients and local people now and for generations to come. We are fortunate in having such a forward thinking Council in Gloucestershire who have already led the way in many innovative projects to reduce carbon emissions and, as such, we are committed to working in partnership with civic partners in delivering a net carbon neutral Gloucestershire by 2050.”

Tree planting at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.jpgThe Trust has already made good progress in reducing its environmental impact and in the past five years, it has reduced its carbon consumption by nearly 40%. Other initiatives include offering discounts for use of reusable cups in onsite catering facilities and the shuttle bus between the two hospital sites. Clinical initiatives are also in place including an award winning project to reduce the use of the anaesthetic gas Desflurane, resulting in a 95% reduction compared to last year, saving in excess of 800 tonnes of carbon dioxide, with no detriment to patient care.

The Trust will be setting out a range of measures for 2020 and beyond working with partners in Gloucestershire to address issues of transport, waste, energy and engagement.

Professor Steve Hams, Director of Quality and Chief Nurse and executive lead for sustainability said: “We’ve made significant progress towards the 2050 Government target, but we want to do more. Our staff are passionate and committed to tackling climate change for now and future generations.”