Top NHS and health organisations receive environmental awards

Sustainable-health-and-care-awards marquee

Hydrogen powered ambulances, a therapy garden and a sustainable ‘dare’ campaign were some of the initiatives that were recognised at the Sustainable Health and Care Awards in Birmingham last night.

The inaugural awards honoured some of the most innovative approaches across the NHS and health sector that are improving health, protecting the environment and saving money.

Other winners included a care farm and an energy saving scheme that have saved millions of pounds.

The Sustainable Health and Care Awards highlight and celebrate outstanding sustainable practices delivering real benefits. Awards were assessed based on social, financial and environmental outcomes.

Selected special guests were on hand to present the awards across 12 categories aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG). Finalists and guests were congratulated in a video message from film director Richard Curtis who is also a UN SDG Advocate. 

The awards were hosted by Professor Lord Robert Winston, an eminent authority on medical science and BAFTA award-winning television presenter.

The ceremony took place on Wednesday, 21 November 2018 at Edgbaston cricket ground in Birmingham, following the Sustainable Health and Care Forum.

Representatives from each of the 11 winning organisations received a sustainably-sourced oak plaque.

The winners were whittled down from 58 finalists representing 34 organisations by a panel of 13 judges from across the health, environment and private sectors.

Sonia Roschnik, the director of the Sustainable Development Unit, said:

“We’re delighted to be recognising the excellent work being carried out across the NHS, health and social care sector to deliver an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable system.

“We hope this will inspire us all to continually improve our services, reduce our impacts and work collaboratively across the sector as a means of driving improved health for all.

“Given the UK is celebrating ten years of the Climate Change Act this month, let’s work to deliver the next decade of improvements by celebrating every success and using every opportunity to transform health and care to a sustainable health system we can all be proud of.”

Danny Mortimer, the chief executive of NHS Employers, said:

“These awards showcase and honour health and care organisations which have worked tirelessly to maximise environmental, social and financial value to ensure a more sustainable system. 

“I’d like to congratulate each winner and thank them for all their hard work.”

The award ceremony followed the inaugural Sustainable Health and Care conference and exhibition, held at the same venue.

The conference brought together sustainability professionals and champions from across the NHS, public sector and social care. People heard from NHS Digital, NHS Improvement, Public Health England, and the Jo Cox Foundation.


List of winners by category:



Adaptation – best resilience strategy

Norfolk County Council

Capital projects – building design efficiency

Medical Architecture for Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust

Carbon reduction

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust

Care and clinical practice

Countrymen UK and Future Roots

Green space

Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Our people

Sussex Community NHS Trust

Sustainable excellence – corporate approach

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust

Travel and logistics

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust

Waste and resources

Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Water and energy

Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Sustainable healthcare ambassador of the year

Jeannie Metcalfe-Hall, Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Sustainable healthcare leader of the year

James Dixon, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust


Winner’s profiles:

Adaptation - best resilience strategy:

Norfolk County Council’s area is vulnerable to extreme weather due to its long coastline, flat landscape, and a high proportion of older residents in rural areas, which led the council to develop a forward-thinking approach to ensure the region is prepared for future extreme conditions.

Key successes included developing a self-assessment tool that plans for resilience, including adapting buildings for extreme weather.


Capital projects - building design efficiency:

Medical Architecture for Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust built Clock View Hospital as a new purpose-built, class-leading mental health facility.

The building was designed to limit heat losses and gains, and to reduce overall carbon emissions. 


Carbon reduction:

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust has a comprehensive Sustainable Development Management Plan, which hopes to achieve 28 per cent carbon savings by 2020 against its 2012/13 baseline year.

By implementing several initiatives, since 2013/14, the trust has made cumulative savings of £2.2 million.


Care and clinical practice:

Future Roots runs an initiative called Countrymen UK at a care farm in Dorset. With the help of lottery funding, a service was introduced in 2011 where men with declining physical and mental health can come together, learn new skills, and share experiences, while carrying out engaging and enjoyable activities. 

Countrymen UK at Future Roots has recently received further lottery funding to scale up its model and offer it to other care farms throughout the UK.


Green space:

Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has a therapy garden which produces a range of fruit, vegetables and flowers. Key benefits of the therapy garden include providing patients with a place to engage with nature and take part in clinical therapies and gives staff a calm place to recuperate from work pressures.


Our people:

Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust implemented the Dare to Care behavioural change campaign. The campaign uses dares such as ‘I dare to smile’ to ‘I dare to get on a bike’ to help create a healthier and happier place to work. Since its introduction four years ago, the programme has led to increased wellbeing at work, £4.87 million in savings, and a reduction in carbon footprint of 1,843 tonnes against a 2010 baseline.


Sustainable excellence - corporate approach:

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust operates sustainably and creates a culture of environmental consciousness. It embraces the government’s action on climate change with a target to cut carbon emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050. The trust achieved 19.8 per cent carbon savings in 2017/18 with an additional 16 per cent saving planned in 2018/19.


Travel and logistics:

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust is working towards a zero-emission fleet, as ever-increasing emergency calls make it unable to reduce its mileage reduction.

Steps taken included procuring two hydrogen-electric hybrid ambulances, developing an electric vehicle charging policy, working with local authorities to install charging points, and installing solar panels on 109 double-crewed ambulances.


Waste and resources:

Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust embarked on a ground-breaking programme of waste management by working with Skanska, a multinational construction and development company. Key achievements included training 3600 staff to boost their waste management understanding, and introducing a programme to reuse and repair unwanted furniture, which saved the trust around £30,000-£40,000 per year.


Water and energy:

Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust became the only healthcare provider in Europe to be involved with a European Commission-funded project to develop an online platform that uses building energy data and communicates this to users. The interactive tool allows staff to access accurate energy performance information about their site electronically in a red, amber, and green-rated smiley face system.


Sustainable healthcare ambassador of the year:

Jeannie Metcalfe-Hall, Environment Manager, Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, has implemented an organisation-wide reuse system. Since the project began in 2014, the system has saved more than 1,700 tonnes of carbon emissions and cut 58,200 kg of waste, saved £320,000 by reusing items and more than £55,000 on admin costs of buying new items, and seen more than 750 staff members taking part. The trust was able to pump the cash savings back into patient care.


Sustainable healthcare leader of the year:

James Dixon, Head of Sustainability & Compliance at The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation, established a board-approved sustainable healthcare strategy.

Its key successes included establishing a network of 200 green champions across the trust, an increase in recycling from less than 10 per cent to almost 50 per cent, and annual sustainability reports consistently rated excellent by the Sustainable Development Unit.



The Sustainable Health and Care Awards are commissioned by the Sustainable Development Unit (SDU) and delivered by NHS Employers.

Funded by and accountable to NHS England and Public Health England, the SDU works across the NHS, public health and social care system.

The SDU helps organisations across health and care embed and promote sustainable development in order to reduce emissions and pollution, save money and improve the health of people and communities


Notes to editors:

  • NHS Employers is part of the NHS Confederation charity and supports employers to put patients first. It provides a voice for employers on national policy decisions, produces up-to-date guidance for leaders and managers and leads on national pay negotiations.
  • The NHS Confederation represents 85 per cent of NHS providers and commissioners. The organisation has nearly 500 members across health and social care, including hospitals, community and mental health providers, ambulance trusts and independent sector organisations providing NHS care. It is a membership body that brings together and speaks on behalf of the whole NHS.
  • Follow Danny Mortimer on Twitter @NHSE_Danny. Or follow NHS Employers @nhsemployers or the NHS Confederation press office @NHSConfed_Press.
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