Sheffield NHS Trusts tackle climate crisis together

Sheffield’s NHS Trusts are coming together to host a combined festival of sustainability in healthcare next month, featuring events across the city which will get staff and service users involved in creating a greener future in Sheffield’s healthcare organisations

Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are hosting the festival together to offer participants access to a bumper schedule of activities across the month of June.

There will be gardening and planting activities, litter picking, bike skills and maintenance sessions, guided walks, open forum climate café conversations, jargon busting videos and sessions on sustainability in clinical practice, mindfulness in nature, air pollution, waste management, and much more over the month of the festival.

The sessions will be a mixture of in person and online, with staff members from any Trust offered the chance to attend any event.

People planting trees
NHS staff in Sheffield have planted more than 100 trees in the last year at sites across the city

The climate crisis poses a threat to both physical and mental health, and the Trusts are coming together to tackle the crisis as unified healthcare providers in the city. The festival will provide opportunities for the Trusts, their staff and service users to combine their expertise, hear from their neighbouring experts, and offer better opportunities to learn knowledge and skills that everybody can use to support this work.

Sheffield is the UK’s greenest city, a title that is important to lots of people in the area. Work like this is needed to protect this title and to enhance everything that Sheffield residents love about the city.

Sheffield’s Trusts have already made lots of progress, such as by introducing electric vehicles, offering staff free e-bike loans and planting hundreds of trees and plants at sites across the city.

Cyclist on an e-bike moving blurrily from left to right
NHS staff across Sheffield have had access to free e-bike loans thanks to a scheme from Cycling UK

Sarah Ellison, sustainability lead at Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The NHS is here to care for people in our communities now and in the future. By working towards a healthier planet, we make sure that we protect both the mental and physical health of people too. In Sheffield we are working really hard to play our part in tackling the climate crisis, and we are really excited to come together to share ideas and motivate each other to keep going towards building a better, healthier future.”

John Williams, chief finance officer and deputy chief executive at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “From reducing our carbon footprint by changing the way we deliver anaesthetic gases, to sustainable travel and insulation projects – Sheffield Children’s is always looking to lead the way into a healthier world and future for our children and young people. These events will give all our colleagues, patients, families and NHS partner organisations a chance to come together and be inspired to create a greener Sheffield community.”

Two people stood in front of white van with livery showing it is an electric vehicle
Sheffield's NHS Trusts have been decarbonising their vehicle fleets, bringing in electric vehicles

Rachel Morris, head of sustainability at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “To support the NHS focus on sustainable healthcare delivery, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals is committed to being efficient in the use of natural resources whilst helping to build healthy and resilient communities. We are proud to make a difference in tackling the climate crisis and are looking forward to sharing knowledge and stimulate discussion around this important topic.”

In October 2020, the NHS became the world’s first health service to commit to reaching carbon net zero, in response to the profound and growing threat to health posed by the climate crisis.

As the largest employer in Britain and in Europe, the NHS can play a significant role in reducing our carbon footprint as a nation and reducing the risks that is has on the public’s health.