AHPs in Cornwall recognised for exemplary ‘green leadership’

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In April, Allied Health Professions (AHPs) in the south west were nominated to receive greener AHP pin badges as part of the national Greener AHP Celebrations.

Faith Toogood, Rhiannon Matthews and Lisa Ledger from the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust are among those who have been celebrated for demonstrating exemplary ‘green leadership’, actively promoting the Greener AHP agenda through engaging in several practice-based leadership activities to ensure that the NHS Net zero agenda is being actioned on the ground.

Faith Toogood and Rhiannon Matthews interviewed by colleagues for the RCHT Radio Show

Faith, who will soon be speaking at several events and forums with the aim of pushing the project nationwide, explains more about the work undertaken.

“This year, I began a project to recycle entropy bottles in intensive care. These are rigid bottles that we use to feed patients through nasogastric or nasal jejunal tubes. Prior to this project, these bottles were incinerated in clinical waste, which comes at high cost, both financially and environmentally. Having taken into consideration all the factors around infection control, health and safety, fire safety, and all the various things that we had to do to create a safe process up on the ward, we got the nursing staff involved.”

“Very soon, it became quite apparent there was more we could be doing,” Faith continues. “I thought, if there is a resale value to this type of plastic, then tapping into it not only benefits RCHT financially but also makes better use of what is essentially a precious resource. So, we created what’s essentially a separate waste stream, which is collected by Biffa, and then repurposed into domestic milk bottles. It creates a nice circular economy.”

Faith’s project began on the Critical Care Unit, where she’s currently based. Now the project has been launched across 55 different wards at RCHT, and Faith is working on creating a national process with support from Biffa and Abbott, which can be rolled out nationally.

“The response from colleagues has been brilliant,” Faith adds. “Everyone has been incredibly supportive, really engaged. The nurses on Critical Care have been instrumental in coming up with the process. We’re fortunate here in Cornwall that sustainability is quite high on everyone’s agenda. We seem to care about our oceans and how we live in this beautiful part of the world. Most people I speak to are keen to preserve it. The support and engagement have really helped in terms of growing the project, and it’s been both satisfying and a lot of fun.”

Asked what advice she would give to someone who has ideas around sustainability of their own, Faith adds: “Just do it. Be organised and get going, and, as this project has, it will evolve and change. But you need to start somewhere. If you’re unsure, please contact the sustainable team and you can do that at rcht.sustainable@nhs.net

Rhiannon Matthews, Operational Sustainability Officer at RCHT, adds: “If you want any pointers or any advice, please just contact us, like Faith did. We’ll always try our best to help you with anything relating to sustainability. We like to say sustainability is like fire training, it’s everyone’s responsibility, and anyone can get involved. If you have an idea, let us know.”

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