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NHS Sustainability Day of Action: A brighter future for OUH

This article is more than two years old.
Pavel Janecka, from the OUH Estates team, installs a new LED light at the John Radcliffe Hospital

Nearly 24,000 new LED lights will be installed at Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) as part of a national scheme to deliver significant carbon savings, energy efficiency, and heat decarbonisation within the public sector.

Upgrading lighting systems to more energy efficient LED lighting across the Trust’s four hospital sites in Oxford and Banbury, the project will transform clinical, administrative, and main hospital areas, providing a wide range of benefits for staff and patients.

With today (Friday 4 June 2021) being NHS Sustainability Day of Action, the NHS needs to strike a balance between delivering cost savings and ensuring a high standard of patient care. The overall aim is to reduce costs, reduce the impact on the environment, and deliver even higher standards of patient care.

The LED lighting project will provide energy cost savings, reduced carbon emissions, appropriate lighting levels for the tasks performed in different areas, operational and maintenance cost savings, reduced risks from failed lights, and will release electricians for other tasks.

The Trust believes the installation of these new LED lights will save 563 tonnes of CO2 and £450,000 a year on energy bills.   

Areas will also be brighter, ensuring the hospital is more welcoming for patients and better for staff to work in.

The Trust was awarded £2.24 million for the project, with funding coming from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s £1 billion Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.

David Walliker, Chief Digital and Partnership Officer at Oxford University Hospitals, said: "The Trust was really excited to be awarded this funding to upgrade our hospitals as it will improve our carbon footprint and save us energy.

"The positive effects of the brighter lighting in our clinical, administrative, and public areas are already being noticed and appreciated by staff and patients alike."

Lighting across the retained state – all areas not managed by Public Finance initiative (PFI) companies – will be upgraded.

Work to install 6,300 LED lights at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford is completed, while half of the 5,000 lights are in place at the Horton General.

A total of 12,500 lights are due to be installed at the John Radcliffe Hospital and Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, both based in Oxford, by the end of August 2021.

Green Goals

A recent survey from the OUH Sustainability Network, which meets regularly to work with the trust to try to address sustainability issues across at the organisation, showed that 94 per cent of OUH staff are concerned about climate change, and 97 per cent feel it is important for the Trust to work more sustainably.

Earlier this year, OUH joined forces with major organisations and businesses in Oxford to support the aspiration of achieving net zero carbon emissions as a city by 2040. The group of 21 leaders from the city's NHS trusts, universities, institutions, and large businesses signed the Zero Carbon Oxford Charter at the virtual Zero Carbon Oxford Summit in February.

OUH is already making big changes, including the use of more sustainable methods for new building work, promoting active travel and electric vehicles among staff, and using more video consultations when appropriate with patients.

In addition, a cycle courier service delivering medication has halved delivery times of patient-specific products, such as chemotherapy and antibiotics, to the John Radcliffe and Churchill hospitals.

Around 36,000 products have been delivered by Oxford-based company Pedal and Post since the first delivery was made at the start of August 2020, improving patient care and delivering sustainability benefits.