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Staff at St Peter's Hospital

Recently Aspen Ward at St Peter’s Hospital won the Green Ward competition, which is a programme run by the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare (www.sustainablehealthcare.org.uk).

Dawn Reeves-Turner, Ward Manager said: "I would like to open by saying how grateful the Staff of Aspen Ward are for the recognition offered through the presentation of the Green Award. I would also like to offer my personal thanks to Claire Swain, my co-lead on the initiative.

We have been offered this award in recognition of our efforts in reducing our Carbon Footprint, achieving this through simple initiatives and changes in our practice, changes that could, we believe, be easily replicated on all medical units in the Trust. We were conscious of the amount of drugs being discarded and the related cost and implications to the carbon footprint. In response to this, we undertook the following:

We took the initiative to ask the family members of such patients to bring in all medication from home. This, in turn, allowed us to use this medication for the patients’ ongoing treatment rather than seeking to place a duplicate order for the medication.

We also policed medication transfers from other departments within Ashford and St Peters Hospital which had previously been discarded.

  • We carried out more stringent stock rotation and reviewed the Ward Stock of medication.
  • We policed the ordering of drugs from pharmacy by the nursing team on Aspen Ward.
  • We advised Medical staff to not place ‘over the counter’ medication on discharge summaries.
  • We communicated our initiative through displaying posters throughout the department.

As a result of the above, we manage to achieve a reduction in the unit carbon footprint and, in doing so, reduced our drug spend.”

Claire Swain, staff nurse who worked in collaboration with Dawn, said: “It was with great understanding from the Nurses and team that we needed to make a change to reduce waste and in doing so reduce carbon footprint leading to a healthier NHS. This innovation is a micro solution to a macro problem within the NHS. We need to roll other innovative ideas on other wards and work as a team to see the benefits of reducing all waste. Thank you to the Doctors and pharmacist for support in cost effective prescribing and medicine optimisation to see our reduction in costs and equally our savings.

Compliance of medications is so important for a healthy outcome for our patients and we will continue to run out this project and develop with the green ward competition facilitators. We hope Aspen ward can lead by example to other wards in our trust to make changes to reduce waste.

A big thank you to all the Nurses on Aspen who have been ensuring all medications are taken in from home and reducing our orders from pharmacy. “


Left to Right – Simon Marshall, Dawn Reeves-Turner, Claire Swain, Ollie Swan and Peter Wilkinson


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