RUH green initiatives look to cut carbon footprint

The Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Trust has reported two positive pieces of news which underline its commitment to providing environmentally sustainable healthcare.

It has announced it is on course to successfully deliver its five-year sustainable travel strategy, meeting 92 per cent of its actions.

The plan informs and supports staff and visitors to travel to the Trust in a way which is environmentally and socially sustainable as well as cost-effective. The RUH is scaling up a number of initiatives alongside our community partners to reduce air pollution in the area, including:

  • More than doubling the cycle storage space onsite
  • Introducing an e-bikes loan scheme for staff to trial
  • Children’s Therapies using an e-cargo bike to visit patients in the community
  • Launching the “Join My Journey” staff car sharing scheme
  • Offering e-scooter discounts and a salary sacrifice scheme for electric and ULEV cars
  • Supporting BANES “Kick the habit” campaign by encouraging everyone to turn their vehicle engines off when stationary
  • Increasing air quality monitoring
  • Increasing the value of bicycles available through the staff salary sacrifice cycle purchase scheme
  • Subsidising staff discount for travel on First Bus services
  • Encouraging use of public transport, including Park & Ride facilities

The trust has also reduced carbon emissions by 2 per cent by switching to using portable gas canisters to deliver medical nitrous oxide gas to patients on wards, reducing use of the gas from 2m litres to 13,500 litres a year.

Nitrous oxide is used as part of anaesthesia but is a potent greenhouse gas, estimated to be nearly 300 times worse than carbon dioxide for the environment. A significant proportion of nitrous oxide emissions at older NHS hospitals is due to waste from manifolds and the associated old pipework.

For mothers in labour Entonox, (“gas and air”) is still readily available for those that need it.