What we are doing
Guy's and St Thomas' aims to run efficiently, use resources wisely, encourage healthy living and provide patients with the best possible care. Led by our award-winning sustainability strategy (PDF 359kb) we are making significant progress to deliver the most sustainable healthcare in the UK.
Why is our work important?
Sustainability has been recognised as one of the key challenges of the 21st century and the health sector. Our work is important because:
- it’s good for health – actions that benefit the environment, such as active travel and reducing air pollution can improve public health
- it saves money – for example we spend over £10 million per year on gas and electricity. Our multimillion pound savings can instead be spent on patient care
- we have legal requirements to manage our waste, energy use and carbon emissions
- it’s the right thing to do – we should preserve the environment for future generations.
Our top sustainability tips for visitors
If you are visiting the Trust and wish to have a sustainable impact why not try the following:
- bring a reusable water bottle to the Trust to avoid having to buy single-use plastic bottles, this will reduce plastic waste and save you money
- avoid bringing waste from outside the hospital and disposing it at our hospitals
- if eating at our canteens, eat in to avoid using disposable packaging and avoid using plastic cutlery
- if buying coffee, use a reusable coffee cup. If this isn’t possible, remember to recycle your coffee cup in our recycling bins
- try to come to the Trust by walking or cycling. Please use public transport over car or taxi travel if you can.
Our combined heat and power (CHP) engines generate electricity and heat at both hospitals. Installed in 2009, each year the units produce enough electricity to meet half of our energy needs, reduce the carbon dioxide emissions we produce by over 11,000 tonnes (the equivalent of the City of Liverpool’s carbon output for a week) and save us nearly £2 million in energy costs.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ has an award winning partnership with our waste contractor Bywaters, and the Trust is a leading light in embedding waste elimination and minimisation.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ is the first NHS Trust in the UK to introduce a weigh-bridge at our sites to accurately measure waste generated through our services. A departmental tagging system has also been introduced so departments can track their waste generation and recycling rates. This also allows the waste team to ensure that any areas of non-compliance can be quickly addressed.
Recent success includes:
- zero waste to landfill
- 30% saving in waste costs
- generating power from all our residual waste for 150,000 London homes
- 80% reduction in clinical waste
- recycling more than 60 tonnes of waste each month
- generating compost from food waste
- producing biofuel used in local generation and London black cabs from used cooking oil
- repairing and re-using furniture, which saves over £150,000 each year
- donating redundant hospital equipment to hospitals in need.
We are working with procurement, NHS Supply Chain, the British Medical Association (BMA) and students from King’s College London to take action against child labour and unethical practices in the supply chain, and establish fairer and sustainable standards for procurement of medical instruments.
Since April 2016, we have run an award-winning programme called SAVE to engage staff with sustainability. It’s an opportunity to make a difference by encouraging positive behaviour and changing every day work culture while reducing energy, water, waste and procurement expenditure.
Healthy air programme
Our healthy air programme aims to improve local air quality and takes a long-term view for the health of our patients, staff and community.
So far, we have:
- reduced local vehicle traffic by piloting cycle deliveries of blood and tumour samples between sites
- developed healthy air maps for our hospitals (PDF 162Kb)
- run several 'engine switch-off' campaigns to encourage drivers to turn off their engines when stationary at our hospitals. In 2017, we engaged with more than 60 external drivers and our ambulance drivers
built local partnerships to identify solutions to tackle air pollution. Our partners include Better Bankside, Team London Bridge, Lambeth Air Quality Action Plan steering group, King's College London and Southwark Council.
For more information on air pollution in the UK, please visit the Department of Environmental Food and Rural Affairs website.