Pedal power: Guy’s and St Thomas’ neighbourhood nurses trial ‘e-bikes’

Thursday 22 September 2022

Electric bike

Cheyenne Morgan uses the e-bike to get to her patients

Nurses from Guy’s and St Thomas’ are piloting electric bikes to visit their patients, as part of an initiative to reduce pollution and improve staff health and wellbeing.

Members of the Mawbey Brough neighbourhood nursing team usually drive, walk, use public transport or their own push bikes to get to their patients in Lambeth.

They can now sign up to a pilot project trialling an electric bike – ‘e-bike’ – which has a cargo hold for their rucksack and equipment. 

As well as reducing emissions and congestion on London’s busy roads, it is hoped that the e-bike will improve staff physical and mental health. Using the e-bike also involves fewer parking restrictions and reduces costs.

Nurses who take part must complete at least one cycle training session, and wear a helmet and hi-vis vest when using the e-bike.

During this small pilot, they have covered around 250 miles and saved around 34kg of CO2 when compared to using public transport – this translates into more than one and a half fully grown trees absorbing carbon for a full year. When the e-bikes replace car journeys, these emission savings go up to 59kg of CO2.

Cheyenne Morgan has been a community nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’ for two years. She sees up to 10 patients a day in their own homes and provides a range of support, including insulin, wound care, catheter changes and palliative care.

Cheyenne said: “I love riding a bike and prefer it to using the bus or walking. It reduces the time it takes to get to my patients, and I don’t feel the weight of my rucksack because it can go into the cargo hold. It’s a great alternative to driving and reduces our carbon footprint while helping me to keep fit.”

Sunday with electric bike

Neighbourhood nurse Sunday Falolu, who has been at the Trust for three months, added: “I used to walk everywhere so now that we have the e-bikes I get to where I need to go much quicker. It’s faster than being in a car – while they are stuck in traffic I can get through to my destination without any delays. I’ve become fitter using the e-bikes, and they don’t produce any gases so we’re helping the environment.”

The project was made possible thanks to generous supporters of Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity and funding from Impact on Urban Health.

Kieron Boyle, Chief Executive of Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity, said: “We’re delighted to work with Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust to improve air quality in Lambeth. By supporting nurses to switch to cargo bikes instead of driving polluting vehicles, we’ll be protecting the health of patients, hospital staff and people living in our communities.”

Last year Guy’s and St Thomas’ unveiled its sustainability strategy which sets out a clear path towards more sustainable healthcare for the next 10 years. 

The Trust has already made the switch to cargo bikes when transporting some blood and tumours for testing between Guy's Hospital and St Thomas' Hospital, which replaced vans and motorbikes.

Lawrence Tallon, Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “Electric bikes are a speedy, eco-friendly and healthy way for our staff to get around. This initiative supports our ambitious plan to reach net zero carbon emissions from our own vehicles and to see significant reductions in emissions from staff and patient travel by 2031.”

Last updated: September 2022

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