Sustainable Healthcare Newsletter June '19

Welcome to the latest Sustainable Healthcare newsletter! There's been a lot of news and updates since our last newsletter, read on for the latest news, research and events!

Welcome to new Global Green and Healthy Hospital members - we are excited to have the QEII Jubilee Hospital in Queensland, from Western Australia both the Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital and South Metropolitan Health Service, and Cabrini Health from Victoria.

Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH) membership in Australia and New Zealand now stands at over 1,000 health services, organisations and facilities represented by 61 Institutional members. This is exciting news and represents the growing recognition that health service action to reduce our impact on the environment and or carbon emissions is critical to our focus on community health and well-being.

Don't miss our Healthcare Sustainability Forum in September (see below for more details). Registrations for attendance are now open!


Quick links

If you would like to join the Global Green and Healthy Hospitals network, visit the website or email [email protected] 

If you’d like to stay in touch and see other important stories, make sure you follow us on Twitter and Facebook and share our articles and updates.


Registrations open

Healthy Hospitals Forum 2019

Monday 23 - Tuesday 24 September, Melbourne

Mark your diaries, Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 September are earmarked for the third Sustainability Forum!

Each year the Forum attracts eminent speakers covering important innovations in environmental sustainability in health.

Are you leading an innovative or important sustainability project in health? Are you conducting research into the health and cost benefits of climate action in health?

We have many exciting speakers, ranging from health professionals and researchers, environmental and climate scientists and health innovators.

To register your attendance, click here.



GGHH: Share your work!

Heath services are making great gains. If you are working on a project or just completed a change in practice at your workplace and would like to showcase your work please contact us about developing a case study at [email protected]

GGHH Case study: Hawke's Bay District Health Board - "Go well" Travel Plan

Thanks to the implementation of their "Go well" travel plan, the Hawke's Bay District Health Board (HBDHB) achieved an 18% reduction in staff travel by car and a 104% increase in patient travel by bus. The case study outlines how HBDHB managed to introduce more sustainable transport options for travel to and from the hospital, and in turn, reduced carbon emissions, promoted exercise and improved accessibility.

Implementing big changes like this can be challenging, take a look at the case study and others like it for tips on how to improve the sustainability culture at your workplace.


Watch: Dr. Glenn Paraso, Climate & Health Champion for Earth Day 2019

Dr Glenn Paraso, Executive Director - CEO of the Mary Johnston Hospital in Tondo, Manila Philippines, discusses the inherent paradox of healthcare. Through treating and healing people, the healthcare system may actually be contributing to worsening health through the considerable carbon footprint of the industry. Dr Paraso highlights the need for practical solutions and actions that can be put into place to improve the "health" of our hospitals.

Watch it here...


Sustainable Healthcare News

The importance of healthcare professionals in the fight for action on climate change

While the result of the Australian federal election may have been disappointing for those of us hoping for stronger action on climate change, it is important to keep up hope and remember the important role we can still have in our workplaces and communities. Maibach et al. have written some inspiring words for health professionals to remind us to keep pushing for action:

"We must educate and advocate with people in our communities, civic leaders, and policy makers in government and industry—in our city or county, our state, our nation, and on the global stage—until the objectives have been embraced and achieved."

Read the full article here...


Hospitals urged to prepare to deal with an increase of patients due to climate change

More frequent natural disasters and heatwaves are causing illnesses and deaths, and higher temperatures support the spread of disease vectors, all of which are putting a strain on the health system.

Hospitals across Australia will struggle to cope more frequently in the future unless more is done to offset the effects of climate change, according to public health experts writing in the Medical Journal of Australia. 

Read more here...


Can anaesthesia go green? 

Not all anaesthetic gases are created equal, in terms of their environmental impact, that is. The two most commonly used anaesthetic gases are sevoflurane and desflurane, with most anaesthesiologists tending to pick one gas and sticking with it. While both have similar clinical effects, desflurane has considerably larger global warming potential. 

This article in the LA times describes how one doctor was able to persuade others at his hospital to switch to sevoflurane by presenting accurate data on each of the anaesthesiologists' carbon footprints, based on which gas they favoured. His success in eliminating use of desflurane is an amazing example of how to implement change in the workplace.

Western Health recently implemented the same switch in anaesthetic gases and have seen not only environmental benefits, but considerable financial savings. Western Health have provided a helpful case study for GGHH, take a look here.


Climate progress for the NHS

It has been revealed that the National Health Service in Britain has managed to cut it's carbon emissions by 18.5% despite an increase in activity. We need to be doing more in Australia to push for such dramatic achievements!








The voices of the 2019 AHNE Nursing Summit

Catch up on previous episodes of the Nurses for Healthy Environments Podcast starting with a chat with Elizabeth Schenk, a Nurse Scientist and Sustainability Coordinator, following the 2nd annual Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments Nursing Summit at the recent CleanMed conference. 

For all previous episodes of this insightful podcast, click here...



Federal Election

The Climate and Health Alliance was involved in several initiatives throughout the lead-up to the federal election. This included an Open Letter to all political parties and candidates to address the threat climate change poses to health and well-being, and having many candidates sign a pledge in support of the National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being.

We'd like to thank all our supporters who pledged to #VoteClimate this election and all those who are committed to continue advocating for action on climate and health.


WHO Working Group - collaboration to drive action on climate change and health

The World Health Organisation alongside the Global Climate and Health Alliance have launched the WHO Civil Society Working Group to Advance Action on Climate Change and Health. The working group aims at strengthening collaboration between NGOs and WHO to foster a strong and sustained health voice to drive urgent action on climate change. The Climate and Health Alliance is among the first groups in the world invited to be part of this group, alongside groups such as Healthcare Without Harm.

Read more about the launch of the group here... 


Education and Events


Green Star Foundation Courses

June, various locations in Australia

The Green Building Council of Australia is holding foundation courses in June in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. These new two- and three-day courses will give you an introduction to sustainability in the built environment and provide you with knowledge and expertise of Green Star rating tools. Completion of the courses will allow you to become a Green Star Associate (GSA) or Green Star Accredited Professional (GSAP).

For more information on the courses and to register, click here...


U Ethical Health Forum

June 18, Melbourne

Join Dr Tony Bartone, president of the Federal Australian Medical Association, for a discussion on the impacts of the election on the health landscape of Australia. Dr Bartone will discuss various aspects of health including mental health, primary care and the impact of climate change on health.

This is a free event presented by U Ethical. For more details and to register, click here...


Webinar: Promoting Safer Disinfectants in the Healthcare Sector

June 27, online

Disinfectants used in healthcare facilities frequently have biocidal activity and pose a range of threats to health and the environment. Register now for Health Care Without Harm Europe's webinar which discusses a new project aiming to promote use of environmentally friendly cleaning products, without impacting on infection control. 

For more information and to register for the seminar, click here...


Waste in Healthcare Workshops

July to August, various locations across Victoria

The Department of Health and Human Services, with support from ANMF (Vic Branch) and Sustainability Victoria, is hosting a series of free workshops to help clinical and non-clinical staff to introduce a new, or improve an existing, recycling collection on your ward or in your health service.

The Waste Workshops are a one-day program that will help you understand how to set up/improve a recycling program in your hospital, who you need to talk to for support and how to sell your idea to them. You will work with professional facilitators, as well as DHHS’s Waste Education Officer, Sustainability Officers from various hospitals and clinical staff who have successfully introduced their own recycling programs.

The workshops are available in a number of locations throughout Victoria in July and August. Click here to find your closest workshop and find out more details on each before you register.


Saving Lives Sustainably - Sustainable Procurement in the Health Sector: Global Forum 2019

July 18-19, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Sustainability in production and manufacturing of health commodities has multiple co-benefits through reducing impacts on the environment and health, as well as long-term economic benefits. This forum aims to build a dialogue between key stakeholders from the global health sector. Suppliers and manufacturers of health commodities and top technical experts on environmental and social issues related to the global health supply chains will participate in the Forum.

To find out more about the forum and register, click here...



CleanMed 2019 - Highlights

The 2019 CleanMed conference took place last month in Nashville. Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) has covered a few of the highlights of the event, including inspiring stories from the next generation of climate and health innovators, see more here and here

The Environmental Health Hero Awards were also presented at CleanMed by HCWH and Practice Greenhealth. This year, the entire staff of three California Hospitals were recognised for their work in caring for the communities impacted by the extreme heatwaves and fires throughout California. Read more about the award here.


Macnamara candidates' forum on climate change and energy

While the election may be over, there is still a lot we can learn from the speakers at the Macnamara candidates' forum. Speakers at the event included Fiona Armstrong (CAHA), Simon Holmes a Court (University of Melbourne) and several secondary school students. Follow this link to see all the videos from the night.


American Climate Leadership Summit 2019

Members of Climate for Health attended the American Climate Leadership Summit and have provided a summary of the event including the Health + Climate tables which focused on how health professionals can communicate the impacts of climate change with patients and the community. Read more here.


Research, Reports and Resources

Effect of reliable electricity on health services in rural India

In aiming to reduce the carbon footprint of health services in Australia, it is important to remember that other countries may not have access to the facilities that we take for granted. A recent study in Gujarat, India has identified the importance of providing a reliable rural electrification program. The study found that providing 24 hour electricity to core health services increased availability of essential devices and equipment, and increased the utilisation of health services including maternal and child health care.

Read the full study here...


Victoria's Health System achieving considerable progress in sustainability

Last year, the Victorian State Government introduced the Environmental sustainability strategy 2018–19 to 2022–23 aiming to improve the environmental performance of the health system and increase resilience in the face of climate change. An initial progress report has revealed that 74% of initiatives are operating at "expected" or "better than expected" levels. Importantly, the Victorian Health and Human Services Building Authority has joined Global Green and Healthy Hospitals and is encouraging Victorian health services to join up as well.

Read the full report here...


The co-benefits of cleaning without chemicals

In 2011, Monash Health began a new cleaning method using steam and microfibre cloths rather than harsh, biocidal chemicals. Removing chemicals from the cleaning regime has reduced the risk of allergies in cleaning staff, helped to preserve medical equipment, and reduced exposure to chemicals for premature babies, it has also reduced water usage by 90%. A new study published in Journal of Infection Prevention has revealed another co-benefit, the introduction of this novel cleaning method coincided with a statistically significant reduction in norovirus and suspected viral gastroenteritis in the hospital. 

Read the full study here...


Climate Change Toolkit for Health Professionals

The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment have released a toolkit for health professionals which consists of eight modules on various aspects of climate change and health. This toolkit is designed to help health professionals who want to engage more directly on the issue of climate change as educators with their patients, peers and communities.

Find the full toolkit here...



This newsletter is brought to you by the Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA). Did you know individuals, as well as organisations, can join CAHA?

If you like what we do, and would like to support our work, please join and become a member of the Climate and Health Alliance. You will be joining a dynamic effort to ensure people's health and well-being is central to national and global efforts to respond to climate change. To join CAHA, follow this link!