What are we doing to be more sustainable?
Our key areas of focus for sustainability are:
- Embedding Green Impact into our organisational culture
- Improving our energy efficiency
- Implementing our lighting responsibility plan
- Green procurement
- Sourcing food and drink responsibly and avoiding use of plastic where possible
- Reducing waste and increasing recycling
- Promoting sustainable transport
- Purchasing sustainably
- Reducing our use of paper
- Reducing prescribing
- Implementing the NUS/RCGP Green Impact Toolkit
- Supporting health and wellbeing
This short video highlights some of the work we are doing around sustainability:
Here are some examples of work we are undertaking on these key areas:
Embedding Green Impact into our organisational culture
- Sustainability is one of our core values
- We ask staff to reflect on how they have helped sustainability as part of our appraisals
- We ask about sustainability at interviews
- Green Impact is a standing item on agendas for meetings
- We regularly ask our staff to feedback ideas for improvement
- Our weekly staff newsletter promotes Green ideas, events in the community and ways we can all take action
- We work collaboratively with our local community
Improving our energy efficiency
- We ensure temperatures are regulated in the building - through the use of an air cooling system and underfloor heating
- Radiators are turned down where possible
- Equipment is turned off at the end of each day
- Lighting is on timers but lights can also be turned off when not needed
- Energy - gas and electric - is provided via green energy suppliers
- Use of water heaters for making tea and coffee, instead of kettles
Implementing our lighting responsibility plan
- All lights are fitted with sensors
- Staff take responsibility for switching lights off when not needed or when leaving a room at the end of a session / day
- Clear labelling on light switches to make it easier to turn areas of lighting off
- Staff responsible for closing building at the end of the day undertake a building sweep to ensure all area lighting is turned off
- Working on a plan to replace all current lights with LED lighting over next 5 years
- We only buy Green Energy
- Several of our team have completed sustainable procurement training
- We ask our suppliers about their environmental policies
- We have reviewed our office supplies and made many swtiches, which include purchasing sustainable pencils and paper
- We purchase eco friendly washing up liquid and use refill bottles to reduce plastic use
- We work with our suppliers to continually improve the sustainability of our supply chains - See Our Suppliers
Sourcing food and drink responsibly
- Commitment to sourcing Fairtrade / local / healthy refreshments when possible
- Avoiding food products that do not use sustainable palm oil
- Purchasing organic milk from local Tytherington Milk Station
- Offering plant based oat milk alternatives at events
- Raising awareness with the public about Faitrade, by supporting Fairtrade Fortnight each March
- Sharing food as a team, with regular 'bring and share' lunch days
- Installation of refill water bottle station for staff and public use
- No longer providing plastic cups at water station (with provision of reusable bamboo cups for patients who forget their water bottle)
- Providing tea and coffee for staff which is Fairtrade
- Reducing single use plastic
- Sourcing plastic free tea bags
- Using refill bottles for washing up liquid
- We are part of Refill Frome and provide staff with eco friendly water bottles to welcome them to the Practice
- Encouraging staff and patients to use our water refill station
- Working with our Youth PPG and Frome College to promote reusable menstrual products to reduce plastic waste
Reducing waste and increasing recycling
- Ensuring only confidential waste is collected for shredding
- All other paper recycled
- Clearly labelled bins in clinic rooms for domestic / confidential / sharps / clinical waste
- Collection of plastic milk bottle tops for Air Ambulance charity
- Recycling plastic bottles
- Recycling of other materials, including cardboard, printer toner cartridges and batteries
- Encouraging patients to consider switching inhaler use to more sustainable version and encouraging recycling of inhalers at certain pharmacies in Frome (St Aldhelms, Boots, ASDA) who take part in the GSK Asthma Inhaler Recycling Scheme
- See also reducing use of paper below
- See also reducing prescribing below
Promoting sustainable transport
- Implementing our travel plan,including promoting walking, cycling and car sharing
- Implementing the Cycle To Work scheme
Reducing our use of paper
- Working towards being a paperless Practice where possible
- Ceasing use of fax machines
- Promoting health education messages to patients via patient information screens in waiting areas, to reduce the use of leaflets
- Setting photocopiers to print double sided by default
- Photocopiers are able to scan and email documents, to reduce printing
- System in place to collect non-confidential documents printed only on one side so this paper can be used as note pads
- System in place to collect and reuse envelopes
- Email signatures include the 'think before you print' logo
- Patient communication uses paperless systems where possible
- Registration packs have been reviewed and condensed to reduce paper used
- Online forms being introduced to website and the use of these to increase
- Where possible, the Practice is reducing polypharmacy and over prescribing
- Reducing prescribing of opiates - we are working with patients to review their opiod use and reduce where possible
- Reducing prescribing of over the counter medicines
- Where appropriate, switching prescriptions for inhalers to dry powder inhalers
Implementing the NUS/RCGP Green Impact Toolkit
- Whole Practice commitment to achieving the NUS / RCGP Green Impact Award
- Commitment to support the National Green Impact Agenda to reduce carbon emissions in line with the 2030 United Nations Sustainability Development Goals
- Supporting other Practices and providers to implement the Green Impact Award
- Sharing best practice and ideas, for example through the Green Impact for Health Conference in 2020
Supporting Health and Wellbeing
- Promoting workplace health and wellbeing
- Working closely with Health Connections Mendip, to help patients improve their health and wellbeing
- Providing resources on our website to help patients support their health and wellbeing
- Directing patients to further sources of advice and support via our Clinics and Services pages on the website
- Promoting a series of health and wellbeing campaigns each year, for example on specific topics such as alcohol use or on seasonal health issues such as the flu vaccination
Find out what you can do to be more sustainable
As well asthe things we are doing as a Practice to be more sustainable, we are encouraging patients to be more sustainable too. Below are some ideas of small, often health related, changes you can make which can help the environment, and which can also often save you money too.
If you have other ideas about what we can do as a Practice to be more sustainable please let us know. Likewise if you've thoughts on what patients can do more or less of to help the environment we would love to hear from you. Contact us here to share your thoughts.
Sustainability is also a standing agenda item on Patient Participation Group meetings.
Reducing the use of single use plastic and sourcing food and drink responsibly
- You can reduce your use of single use plastic by using a refillable water bottle. If you are ever at the Practice and need a refill you can and fill it from our water refill station, in the atrium. Many businesses in Frome are part of the Refill Frome scheme, making it much easier for you to stay hydrated, reduce the need to buy single use plastic bottles and save money. More information available here.
- We are lucky in Frome to have a number of shops that encourage plastic free shopping. These include Denude (a great range of refills available including cleaning, personal hygiene and food products), Oakville Care Centre (cleaning products, shampoos, shower gels etc all available as refills), Frome Wholefoods (refills for cleaning products, shampoos etc and home delivery by bike), and The Garden Café Next Door (food products and olive oil available to refill) Let us know if you’re aware of other places locally that encourage refills / plastic free shopping.
- You might also want to think about other ways to reduce your use of plastic – some websites to visit include Plastic Free Challenge and City To Sea.
- One of the biggest environmental impacts you can have as an individual is to reduce the amount of meat and diary you eat. If you want to try this, even on just one or two days of the week, there is lots of support available to you. Take a look at Veganuary and Meat Free Monday for ideas if you're interested in this or try something like Dairy Free Tuesdays. There are lots of recipes online to inspire you if you want to make small changes to what you eat.
- Where possible, buy Fair Trade products because, as well as ensuring decent working conditions, terms of trade and prices for producers, it also ensures local sustainability where products are grown / produced.
Reducing waste and increasing recycling
- Did you know you can recycle your inhaler? Several pharmacies in Frome will take used inhalers from you for recycling - including St Aldhelm's, Boots and ASDA. All these pharmacies take part in the GSK Asthma Inhaler Recycling Scheme.
- If you have asthma the Practice Nurse will advise you if you are suited to a dry powder inhaler. Dry powder inhalers are much better for the environment and are often the best choice for our health.
- Some patients need to continue using Metered Dose Inhalers. Where this is the case we are encouraging patients to ensure they've used every dose from that inhaler before returning it to the pharmacy for recycling.
- As a Practice we are looking at how we can reduce prescribing in order to reduce our carbon footprint and reduce waste. Please talk to your health care professional if you have concerns about this.
- Rather then gifting friends and families with items they might not really want, patients might be interested in giving a gift with a sustainable difference. For example, the charity Avon Needs Trees aims to reforest areas of the River Avon catchment - helping to restore woodland, enhance bio-diversity and give natural flood management, as well as water and air quality improvement, and provide more public amenity space.
Using sustainable transport
- Walk or cycle to the Practice for your appointments where possible – we have plenty of cycle racks here that you are welcome to use.
- Use public transport where possible – to get to your appointments at the practice or elsewhere. You can find out more about public transport in and around Frome on the Town Council website here.
- Beyond Frome, think about using the train instead of driving places and reducing the amount of flying you do.
Reducing the use of paper
- We promote health education messages to patients via the patient information screens in waiting areas, to reduce the use of paper leaflets - please keep your eye out for key messages we share on the screens.
- Patients can also find a great deal of information on our website – whether they want to know about how to register, making appointments online and about our different clinics or services. Patients can also find out about ways to improve their health and wellbeing on our website too.
- We are also starting to encourage patients to use online forms, rather than paper based forms, and these are gradually being introduced to the website
- Where possible, the Practice is reducing polypharmacy and over prescribing. We will only reduce medications in the best interest of the patient and may also be able to promote other ways you can help manage your condition, for example through diet, exercise and support groups. Using other forms of support can help reduce the need for, or the amount of, medication prescribed - which is good for you and good for the planet.
Supporting health and wellbeing
- We support patients to improve their health and wellbeing, for example through working closely with Health Connections Mendip.
- We are a Parkrun Practice and encourage you to take part in the local Parkrun, which takes place on the Old Showfield every Saturday morning at 9am. This is a chance to get fitter, enjoy the outdoors and meet new people. If you don't want to run (or walk) the route then you can always join in by volunteering.
- Patients can join one of the many local Health Walks that take place in Frome, including one that starts and ends at the Practice.
- We encourage patients to use resources available on our website to help them support their health and wellbeing
- We direct patients to further sources of advice and support via our Clinics and Services pages on the website
- Where appropriate, we let patients know about the fifty (and growing!) support and exercise groups that we have available each week at the Practice.
- We promote a series of health and wellbeing campaigns each year, for example on specific topics such as alcohol use or on seasonal health issues such as the flu vaccination
- Working with Frome Town Council, our Youth PPG and Frome College, we are promoting the use of plastic free menstrual products, to both reduce single plastic use and to help address period poverty. Patients can find out more about plastic free period free menstrual products via City to Sea, Mooncup and Earth Wise Girls.
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