NEW hybrid cars, climate change targets and and waste reduction are just some of the goals South West Healthcare has outlined in its new environmental plan.
South West Healthcare is the largest sub-regional healthcare provider in the state, which includes four primary campuses and mental health and dental services across the south-west region.
It launched its 2020-24 Environmental Management Plan by unveiling a new fleet of hybrid cars.
"Health services require significant amounts of resources to be able to deliver quality healthcare services to the community and, in the process, generate significant emissions and waste," SWH service development executive director Jamie Brennan said.
"But the role of South West Healthcare is not only as a health provider, but also as a health promoter where we aspire for our communities to live long healthy lives aided by strategies to reduce negative environmental impacts."
A small, medium and SUV hybrid model are each currently being trialed in the general district nursing service fleet.
Meanwhile another 10 hybrid vehicles have been bought and will arrive in Warrnambool soon - taking the overall count to 19 hybrid vehicles - close to 20 percent of the entire fleet.
"This is a wonderful example of staff identifying and embedding change within their area of expertise and influence,' environmental sustainability officer Elvira Hewson said.
"In a recent VICFLEET data analysis, the Department of Health and Human Services found replacing medium-large cars with a medium hybrid equivalent saves in the order of 800 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions per year. Replacing small cars with small hybrids reduces emissions by 400 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions per year."
With a total of 282 beds - 216 acute, 36 aged care and 30 mental health - located across Warrnambool Base Hospital and Camperdown Hospital and an aged care facility, and Ngootyoong the Prevention and Recovery Centre, SWH is a major specialist referral centre for the Barwon South West sub-region.
SWH has commercial kitchens at two sites, two cafes at Warrnambool, a commercial laundry, supply and maintenance departments, tenancies including Deakin University, Dorevitch Pathology, Health Imaging Services and GP Clinics, and a range of smaller dwellings such as Rotary House and medical student accommodation.
Key features of the environmental plan include work toward the state government target to be net carbon zero by 2050, supporting leadership in environmental performance and climate change adaptation action planning.
The report also makes climate change commitments, including to "gaining a better understanding of climate change impacts on our communities and to planning to be able to manage climate change related risks to our buildings, supply chains and service delivery."
"Climate change is a significant threat to public health, the health and human services system and the social determinants of health and wellbeing", the report says.
The report also says SWH has achieved continual annual declines in overall energy usage, with reductions nearing 10 per cent since 2014-15.
Total water usage has varied with seasonal factors but has also recorded an overall usage decrease of 5.4 per cent compared to 2014-15.
The number of recycling streams offered across SWH has increased to 14 streams, with new streams set up at all campuses for alkaline batteries and e-waste, in clinical areas for PVC (oxygen masks and tubing, and IV bags), sterilisation wrap and little blue towels, and Food Organics and Green Organics at all SWH Corangamite Shire sites including Camperdown Hospital.
Energy, waste and recycling and resource procurement projects have the biggest impact in environmental performance for SWH.
Greenhouse gas emissions emitted by the hospital have fluctuated each year, with an overall drop of 5.2 per cent in the five years to 2018-19, from 10,886 tonnes to 10.315.
Total energy usage across the organisation has dropped nearly 10 per cent from 81,149 gigjoules to 73,120 gigajoules.
Natural gas usage has dropped by around 24 per cent, from 49,398 GJ to 37,389 GJ.
However, electricity use has increased more than 10 per cent in the same period from 24,897 GJ to 27,473 GJ.
The organisation's transport fleet emissions have also increased more than 17 per cent from 6853 to 8060.
In 2017 the hospital generated 532,502 kilograms of waste, a figure which decreased slightly in 2018 to 522,479 kilograms.
In 2018 295,298 kilograms of waste went to landfill.
Some of the focuses for the next four years until 2024 include reducing emissions through the implementation of energy efficiency and renewables and decreasing waste to landfill by increasing recycling rates, introducing a FOGO collection at Warrnambool Base Hospital and identifying sustainable resource procurement initiatives.
The plan includes:
- Developing a climate change adaptation action plan by 2022
- Running workshops and information sessions for all staff to inform them of the environmental management action plan by 2023
- Incorporate environmental sustainability into an induction program for new staff, graduate program and contractors by 2021
- Consider installing drainage filtration devices to prevent litter and oils from entering waterways, commencing with laundry drainage pits by 2021
- Improving containment of water and materials on construction sites to reduce stormwater pollution by 2024
- Encourage staff to consider using v-line transport for work trips by 2022
- Introducing paper and cardboard recycling collection throughout the hospital and organics recycling by 2022
- Soft plastic recycling collection throughout the hospital by 2023
- Investigating reusable items in clinical areas such as sharps caddies and non-clinical areas such as reusable containers for canteen lunches by 2022
A bike fleet will also be launched at South West Healthcare for staff use.
To read the full report, visit the website.
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