Taking action on the ground

Recycling on the wards as part of a green champions network

Connect with others

Not only are things easier to achieve with more help, but it also gives you support and makes anything you do more enjoyable. There is huge variety across NHS workplaces as to how far they are on the ‘sustainability journey’.

Find out what is in existence already (all trusts and boards should now have someone named for sustainability, and they may know of a staff network) , and get in touch if we can publicise your group to others in your area. Even if there isn’t anything apparent, there will be people who are interested, and we can connect you.

Quality Improvement

QI projects are something we are all aware of and often involved in. This provides an ideal opportunity to ensure sustainability is embedded into the analysis, as it should be, whatever the topic.

SusQI has a fantastic exploration of how this can be done, and if you need inspiration for a project have a look at their many examples.

Talking about it

How do we discuss climate and health with friends, colleagues and patients? This can often feel really hard. But good communication is often a key part of our job as healthcare professionals.

Climate Outreach have several excellent resources, including their Talking Climate Handbook which features the following mneumonic:

Conversations during Covid-19

Climate Outreach’s guide and the FrameWorks Institute’s briefer guide offer some helpful insights into framing discussions about the climate crisis in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Focus on the benefits

A useful discussion in the healthcare setting could focus on the co-benefits of climate action for health. These are changes in lifestyle or behaviour which benefit both our own health and the environment. Some good examples include:

Green gym participants in a field with spades
“Green Gym” participants from Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHSFT
  • Active transport (e.g. walking and cycling)
  • Low emission public transport
  • Eating less red and processed meat 
  • Spending time in nature (e.g. green walks, growing food locally)
  • Improving housing insulation

See ‘Why are we doing this?’ for further information on these issues.

We are working on specialty-specific resources for doctors with tips for discussing climate action, and will add the links here when they’re ready. If you’d like to contribute or have feedback please get in touch.