100% renewable electricity buildings, electric vehicles, and local fruit and veg – trust leads the way to net zero
In January 2022, Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH) published its ‘blueprint for the next five years’ to support the national NHS net-zero pledge.
And this week it announced progress against its Green Plan, which was launched six months ago.
The document lays out the trust’s ambitious plan to ‘make GMMH as environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable as possible’.
It focuses on three key areas:
And, since the launch, GMMH has announced several key achievements.
Marc Reed, associate director of capital, estates, and facilities, said: “Sustainability and the environment is a huge national agenda, but one we can all be part of.
“Overall, at GMMH, we have been prescriptive on what we expect to have achieve, and when.
“Our Green Plan provides a clear vision for sustainable improvements over the next three years and our teams are actively working to contribute towards a net-zero NHS.
“Using the latest technology and green innovations, we can make a considerable impact as we look to embed sustainability into everyday lives.”
Six months on, the trust now uses 100% renewable electricity at all its sites and is almost ready to start construction of a new mental health inpatient unit for Manchester – North View – which will be its first all-electric building.
It is also procuring more local fruit and vegetables and is trialling sustainable food waste technologies.
And it is investing in electric vehicles; offering green health walks in Prestwich; and is providing opportunities for service users and carers to take part in green community groups to improve their mental health while helping the environment and sustainability.
An action plan sits behind GMMH’s Green Plan, which is focused around 14 priority themes, including buildings; food and nutrition; greenspace and biodiversity, and bustainable Care.
Progress is measured by a Green Plan Delivery Group.
Dr Matthew Miller, associate medical director and volunteer clinical lead for sustainability at the trust, said: “Environmental efforts also have a positive impact on the health of our communities, particularly those who are most vulnerable.
“Rising temperatures and extreme weather are likely to have a negative effect on physical health, and people with mental health issues are more likely to experience ‘climate anxiety’.
“Many of the best ways we can reduce our carbon emissions will also improve the care we provide – for example, providing care as close to home as possible will not only reduce travel emissions, but it will also make sure people are in the most familiar and supportive environment for recovery.
“Recently, we have undertaken a huge transformation of our Atherleigh Park hospital in Wigan, to achieve just this.
“GMMH’s Green Plan is ambitious, but underpinned by a strong plan of action.
“Lowering emissions by lowering the number of staff driving to work has been a key priority, and so far we’ve made a number of changes to make this happen.
“We have installed new cycle storage across the trust, installed electric vehicle chargers in our car parks, and agreed a home working deal with staff, to encourage hybrid home/in-person working.
“And we have exceeded the national NHS target of 25%, with 70% of our appointments now taking place remotely.
“We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”
GMMH’s announcement comes in light of the launch of the newly-established NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care’s Green Plan.
The NHS body, which was established on 1 July, launched its plan on 19 July, unveiling ambitions plans to eliminate carbon emissions from the region’s health and care system and to play its part in tackling climate change.