Local health organisations united on global climate crisis


Two local health organisations, who are working to mitigate the links between the climate emergency and impacts on health, are celebrating the first ever health day at the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP28, by highlighting some of the work they are undertaking to address the climate crisis.

COP28 takes place from 30th November to 12th December, with a specific focus on health taking place on 3rd December. The key topics being discussed that day include links between climate change and human health, promoting health arguments for climate action and health benefits of mitigating against climate change and highlighting ways to strengthen the climate resilience of health systems.

Frome Medical Practice and Frome Community Hospital, part of Somerset Foundation Trust, are both engaged in actions to improve the health of patients and the planet, having long recognised the links between climate and health. Both organisations are located on the Frome Medical Centre park at Enos Way in Frome, and liaise closely on climate initiatives where possible, including investigating the potential for shared recycling initiatives and liaising with other local organisations to address local bus routes and links to the Medical Centre.

the sustainability team

Karen Creffield, Practice Manager at Frome Medical Practice, said:

"The NHS is responsible for 4-5% of the UK’s carbon footprint and we know that climate change can have a negative impact on our health. Therefore, as a practice we are committed to making better decisions about the way we deliver services, in order to reduce the harmful impact on the health of our patients and the environment. We always work in partnership on this where we can, ensuring we can share good practice and learn from what other organisations are doing, and our relationship with Frome Community Hospital is an excellent example of this.

"We are really proud of the work we are doing across the health sector in Frome and here at the practice. For example, our efforts to prescribe inhalers more sustainably has been highlighted at a recent national net zero conference. This is a great example of where there is a benefit to the environment, as well as to our patients, as the more sustainable inhalers also result in better patient outcomes."

You can find out more about what Frome Medical Practice is doing to be more sustainable on our website, but examples include procuring sustainably, using green energy, and, where appropriate, reducing overprescribing and prescribing more sustainably. The practice is also a partner in a National Lottery funded project, Green and Healthy Frome, which aims to help local people to live lives that are good for their health and for the planet.

Peter Harvey is Community Matron at Frome Community Hospital and said:

"Melissa Messenger, our Senior Administrator, and I have taken on a 12 month project to raise awareness of sustainability at the hospital and to inspire staff to get involved both here and at home. We have focused on the smaller issues such as reducing waste bins, which has resulted in an increase in recycling of 25%, getting rid of plastic cups and promoting energy awareness by installing timers on larger electrical items which go into ‘sleep’ mode.

"We are also in discussions with Frome Renewable Energy Co-op with regards to solar panels, Frome Town Council and Somerset Bus Partnership to discuss having a regular public transport service to the park and we have put in a bid for funding to install ground source heat pumps.  We have been working in partnership with Frome Medical Practice, focusing on areas where we can work together to make the park a more sustainable place for all those who work and visit here.

"We are hoping that the work we are doing here can be rolled out to other community hospitals. All the small things add up to lots of bigger things and have a positive impact for Somerset Foundation Trust as a whole, as well as the wider community and climate."

Karen added:

"We’ve been focused on improving the health of the planet and of our patients for several years now and there’s a great deal of work going on in Frome to reduce our impact on the climate. COP is in it’s 28th year and it’s fantastic to finally see a whole day focused on health and the climate crisis so ideas can be shared on how this can be managed on a global scale. We look forward to seeing how we can continue to play our part in this as a local health community."

Find out more about the work that Frome Medical Practice is undertaking on sustainability here and you can follow the work Frome Community Hospital are doing on Instagram

Published: Nov 30, 2023