Energy efficiency could save NHS £35m

The NHS could make savings of £35m if nurses, doctors and hospital staff are encouraged to turn off unused equipment, switch off lights, and close hospital doors.

A pilot project at Barts Health NHS Trust in London, the largest NHS in the UK, has saved the Trust £100,000 in energy bills and its organisers say it could be replicated on a larger scale

Called Operation TLC, the behavioural change project, which involved 15,000 employees, has reduced the number of lights left on in wards by up to 40%.

The project was supported by a public-private-NGO partnership between Barts Health NHS Trust, GE, Skanska, and environmental charity Global Action Plan.

TLC paid for itself in less than a year, and Global Action Plan says this represents a greater return of investment than many other energy efficiency schemes.

Barts Health NHS Trust has estimated that rolling the programme out across the whole Trust could save a further £400,000.

It also claims that if a similar “nudge” technique was used across all health trusts in the UK, the NHS could save as much as £35m.

According to the Trust, patients have also benefitted, with staff closing doors and allowing for better temperature regulation and increased patient safety and privacy.

Global Action Plan CEO Trewin Restorick said: “Sometimes getting people to do simple things can be a complex task, especially in the NHS where focus is rightly on patient care and not light bulbs.

“But this programme demonstrates that with the right expertise, and the right combination of techniques, you can run a cost-effective programme that saves energy and adds benefit for patients and staff. Sustainability programmes can contribute to an organisation’s core objectives.”

Conor McGlone

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