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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

College Sustainable Initiatives

Commentary from Dr Phil Davison, the College’s Specialist Adviser on Sustainable Healthcare and Chairman of the SE Division

College Sustainable Initiatives

In collaboration with colleagues, the project: A Service Line Analysis of Nottinghamshire Healthcare’s Carbon Footprint has been successfully completed. This exiting project calculated the carbon cost of mental health services and analysed the carbon footprint of a Mental Health Trust at the level of constituent services.


When the results are disseminated, the project will engage clinicians and patients in the goal of carbon reduction. It will ensure that we all consider carbon reduction as one of the drivers in the redesign of future services.


The project has produced many recommendations, but one is that a standard unit, e.g. carbon cost per patient, must be agreed. This is needed to compare one Trust to another or one service to another.


The Chief Executive, Vanessa Cameron, and her team are having considerable success within the College, and are completing a number of sustainable initiatives which are embedded in the 10:10 campaign.


We are working up the proposal to fund the first sustainable fellow in psychiatry, using the successful model in Nephrology. We are seeking assurances of funding from our partner organisations. Once in post, the fellow will disseminate the results of the service line project as well as other projects, and raise the profile of sustainability with our colleagues.


Sustainable Mental health services will require transformation in order to meet the Climate Change Act’s target of 80% carbon reduction by 2050. Less of the same is not the answer; there will need to be a radical change in clinical practices. The sustainable fellow will engage members and start the work of transformation.


NHS Sustainable Development Unit has launched its new publication Sustainability in the NHS: Health Check 2012. This short document gives an insight into how NHS leaders and the public view sustainability in the health service. It demonstrates the public’s desire for a more sustainable healthcare system, and indicates how sustainability can save your organisation money as well as saving the environment.




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