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Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust’s partnership project wins £100,000 to deliver Net Zero NHS through ‘green theatre’

This page was last updated: February 18th, 2022

Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust has teamed up with innovators to fund a ground-breaking green vision to meet its carbon-neutral, net-zero target by 2030.
Funding from SBRI Healthcare, as part of a ‘Delivering a Net Zero NHS’ competition, means the Trust can move closer towards its ambitious sustainability commitment and the creation of a ‘Green Theatre’.

It is one of 10 pilot projects in England to be awarded the funding, which is designed to bring benefits to patients and care service users, whilst reducing carbon emissions.

Rutherford Research Ltd.’s Revolution -ZERO, in partnership with the Trust, will use the £99,689 award to develop sustainable solutions to replace disposable PPE, drapes and other textiles that are currently used in approximately 11,500,000 surgical procedures across the UK.

The specialist re-usable textiles are manufactured and processed to make sure there is zero waste and zero carbon emissions.

Thom Lafferty, Director of Strategy and Performance at RCHT, said:
“We’re excited to have been awarded funding for this partnership project to take forward our ground-breaking ‘Green Theatre’ innovation; it has the potential to be a real game-changer for the NHS.”

“It is a fantastic achievement, once again placing RCHT at the cutting edge of environmental sustainability advancements within the healthcare sector.”

He paid tribute to the Sustainable RCHT team for its commitment to “growing our national (and international) reputation in this vital aspect of healthcare provision.”
The West of England Academic Health Science Network, along with Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, are also involved in the partnership project.

Elizabeth O’Mahony, NHS England and NHS Improvement’s South West Regional Director, said: “I am delighted to hear that Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust has been recognised for their commitment to creating a Greener NHS.

“The NHS in Cornwall has already made great strides in their journey to reduce carbon emissions. I wish them every success in their latest efforts towards a more sustainable future that will benefit patients, health workers, the wider community and the planet and look forward to sharing the learning from the project across the wider South West.”

Climate change is a major, and growing, threat to global health, impacting on both the provision of services and the resilience of healthcare systems. In the UK, air pollution accounts for 1 in 20 deaths with harmful emissions causing increased cases of asthma, cancer and heart disease.

In response to this reality, the NHS became the world’s first healthcare system to commit to a target of net zero emissions.

Dr Nick Watts, Chief Sustainability Officer, NHS England and NHS Improvement, said: “It’s fantastic to see the wide range of organisations engaged with the first net zero focused SBRI Healthcare competition. Innovation is key to developing new tools and technologies to deliver a net zero NHS and investment will encourage action, reduce the costs of decarbonisation across the sector and improve health and care now and for generations to come.”

The competition, attracted 46 applications, and other winners awarded funding included projects to cut emissions from care miles, reducing emissions from surgical pathways, reducing nitrous oxide emissions, which included University Plymouth as a project partner, as well as tools to support low-carbon decision-making.

The projects will run up to six months, with the aim to demonstrate whether innovations are technically feasible and have an impact on carbon reductions.

Innovations that can prove their impact and potential will be available to seek further funding for prototype development and evaluation. The long-term aim is for successful technologies to be adopted for use in the NHS where they can provide benefits for patients, the NHS and the overall community, whilst enabling the NHS to reach its net zero ambition.

Added on 26 January 2022, in News - Surgical Services

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