GWH first to introduce hybrid nursing role with sustainability

Great Western Hospital (GWH) has become the first NHS Foundation Trust in the country to introduce a hybrid nursing role with sustainability in a bid to make nursing and midwifery greener

Graham Pike, Associate Director of Nursing and Infection Prevention & Control and Clinical Sustainability Lead, is believed to be the first NHS nurse in the country to have sustainability reflected in their nursing job role. 

Graham has been instrumental in driving forwards green improvements across GWH and the wider NHS system in the south west, thanks to his personal passion for creating a greener planet and his essential role in healthcare.

He has also worked closely with the Trust’s sustainability team, clinical leads and wider NHS staff to introduce a number of new initiatives that are helping the NHS in its pledge to be carbon net zero by 2040.

In fact, the Trust has stopped the use of couch (paper) rolls in some departments, saving roughly 155 miles of paper, 21 trees and five tonnes of waste each year. Unnecessary use of antibacterial wipes has also been reduced and reusable tourniquets will soon be standard practice in Swindon phlebotomy services, with each tourniquet saving around 10,000 single-use tourniquets from being used.

Graham is also working with the Trust’s sustainability team to support other departments to consider how they can work more sustainably, with the Emergency Department on track to reach a silver ‘Green ED’ accreditation later this summer and the Critical Care team recognised regionally for their work on reducing the unnecessary use of gloves.

“There are some really simple steps that we can take in healthcare to improve our carbon footprint, which don’t impact on patient care. Over the years, some healthcare practiced have become habit, and we don’t always think about whether these practices, such as glove use, are always necessary. That’s why, here in Swindon, we are looking at how we can change processes and behaviours to ensure the care we deliver is greener, and more beneficial to the patient,” said Graham.

“This can be something as straight-forward and cost effective as using non-alcohol-based hand sanitisers which are not only kinder to the skin, but also use far less energy to produce than alcohol-based products. We’ve also stopped the use of plastic overshoes for birthing partners accompanying a woman in theatre, as there is no infection control evidence to support their use, but it does mean we are really reducing our plastic waste.

“Of course, we’ve also invested in some larger projects across the Great Western Hospital site to improve sustainability, such as working with our maternity services to make all gas and air carbon-neutral and powering our urgent and emergency care services completely from renewable energy sources.”

Across the region, other climate-friendly work is also being recognised as part of Greener Nursing and Midwifery Week.

Angie Willis, Chief Sustainability Officer Clinical Fellow and Midwife at the Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board (BSW ICB) , is bringing her 11 years’ experience of midwifery at Great Western Hospitals to support colleagues to explore sustainability in maternity services, as well as producing reduced carbon care pathway for local women and their families.

She said: “The scope three emissions I’m working on within maternity are the largest part of the carbon emissions in the NHS and the one where all clinicians on the frontline can help to tackle in the drive towards net zero and a healthier planet for everyone.

“That’s why I’m pleased to be doing my bit to make maternity services greener in our local area, supporting not only women and their babies, but the staff who are providing the care as well.”

For more information about the Trust’s sustainability work, please visit:

You can also read BSW ICB’s Green Plan here: BaNES, Swindon & Wiltshire Together Green Plan 2022-25