In January 2022, GMMH published their ‘blueprint for the next five years’ to support the national NHS net zero pledge.
Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH) has announced progress against their Green Plan, which was launched six months ago.
The Plan lays out the Trust’s ambitious plan to ‘make GMMH as environmentally, economically and socially sustainable as possible’. It focuses on three key areas:
- to reduce emissions, in line with NHS England’s pledge to become net zero
- to reduce the environmental impact of all Trust activities
- to increase associated social value
Since this launch, GMMH has announced several key achievements.
Marc Reed, Associate Director of Capital, Estates and Facilities at GMMH said:
“Sustainability and the environment is a huge national agenda, but one we can all be part of. Overall, at GMMH, we have been prescriptive on what we expect to have achieve and when. Our Green Plan provides a clear vision for sustainable improvements over the next three years.
“Our teams are actively working to contribute towards a net zero NHS. Using the latest technology and green innovations, we can make a considerable impact as we look to embed sustainability into everyday lives. Everyone can play their part, including our service users who can learn about sustainability while they are with us and take these ideas with them when they leave to adopt at home.
“Six months into our Green Plan, we have already achieved so much. We use 100% renewable electricity at all our Trust-owned sites; and are almost ready to start construction of our new mental health inpatient unit for Manchester – North View – which will be our first all-electric building.
“We are also procuring more local fruit and veg for use, and are trialling sustainable food waste technologies. We’re investing in electric vehicles; continued to offer green health walks in Prestwich; and have provided opportunities for service users and carers to take part in green community groups, to improve their mental health whilst helping the environment and sustainability. And much more too! But we really are just getting started.”
An action plan sits behind GMMH’s Green Plan, which is focused around 14 priority themes, including Buildings; Food & Nutrition; Greenspace and Biodiversity, and Sustainable Care. A ‘Green Plan Delivery Group’ has been created to make sure that progress is made and measured.
Dr Matthew Miller, Associate Medical Director and volunteer Clinical Lead for Sustainability at the Trust, is tasked with championing the Green Plan and encouraging action. He said:
“Environmental efforts also have a positive impact on the health of our communities, particularly those who are most vulnerable. Rising temperatures and extreme weather are likely to have a negative effect on physical health, and people with mental health issues are more likely to experience ‘climate anxiety’.
“Many of the best ways we can reduce our carbon emissions will also improve the care we provide – for example, providing care as close to home as possible will not only reduce travel emissions, but it will also make sure people are in the most familiar and supportive environment for recovery. Recently, we have undertaken a huge transformation of our Atherleigh Park hospital in Wigan, to achieve just this.
“GMMH’s Green Plan is ambitious, but underpinned by a strong plan of action. Lowering emissions by lowering the number of staff driving to work has been a key priority, and so far we’ve made a number of changes to make this happen. We have installed new cycle storage across the Trust, installed electric vehicle chargers in our car parks, and agreed a ‘Home Working Deal’ with staff, to encourage hybrid home/in person working. We have exceeded the national NHS target of 25% of appointments taking place remotely, with 70% of our appointments now taking place remotely.
“Importantly, we all have a part to play in changing how we work, deliver care and live our lives to reduce the impact we have on the planet. We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world. So...what could you do differently?”
GMMH’s announcement comes in light of the launch of the newly-established NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care’s Green Plan. The NHS body, which was established on 01 July, launched their Green Plan on 19 July, unveiling ambitions plans to eliminate carbon emissions from the city region’s health and care system, and to play its part in tackling climate change.