New environmental sustainability course launched for NHSScotland staff

Interested in environmental sustainability but don’t know where to start? Want to learn more about what action NHSScotland is taking to tackle climate change – and what you can do to help?

A new environmental sustainability course has been launched on TURAS Learn, for all NHSScotland staff.

The course provides an introduction to sustainability concepts, topics and issues, and will develop your understanding of:

  • the effect the environment has on human health
  • the environmental impacts of delivering healthcare services
  • action that NHSScotland is taking to become more sustainable
  • action we can take as individuals to contribute and make a difference

Benefits for all

Taking action to address the climate emergency can have multiple benefits, something Helen Shaw, Specialist Registrar in Public Health, NHS Fife is keen to emphasise:

“A more environmentally sustainable NHSScotland can make a real difference to health outcomes – and can have other benefits too, from making financial savings that can be reinvested into patient care, to improving biodiversity, benefiting local communities and of course meeting our statutory and legal obligations.

“I’d encourage colleagues to use this course as an opportunity to discover how we can realise these benefits, together.”

Our patients are invested in seeing NHSScotland tackle climate change too, as Fiona Laidlaw (Head of Soft FM, NHS Borders) explains: “A recent Citizens’ Panel for health and social care shows how much the people of Scotland care about the environmental impact of healthcare – and wants the NHS to take responsibility for reducing its impact on the environment.

“The more we understand about sustainability and climate change, the more we can see how key it is to all parts of our lives. I hope this course will enable colleagues right across the country to learn more and to get involved.”

Collaboration across the boards

We all know that working together is vital to tackling climate change.

And working together has been a core part of developing this course, as Anushka Govias-Smith (Sustainability Manager, Environmental Management, NHS National Services Scotland and Chair of the short life working group) explains:

“It’s been a true collaborative effort – it began with a group of colleagues in the NHSScotland Environmental Sustainability Group from across different boards working on the course content, including:

  • Public Health Scotland (PHS)
  • NHS Scotland Assure, part of NHS National Services Scotland (NSS)
  • NHS Education for Scotland (NES)
  • NHS Borders
  • NHS Lothian
  • NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde
  • Healthcare Improvement Scotland
  • NHS Grampian
  • NHS Fife
  • NHS Lanarkshire

“Once developed, the script was reviewed by clinical and non-clinical colleagues from several boards, as well as Scottish Government. Other colleagues have also been involved along the way, including NSS teammates from within the NHS Scotland Assure Climate Change, Sustainability and Environment team, our in-house design team and learning and development colleagues, and the NSS sustainability team. We’ve also had support from PHS learning and development and NES as well.

It’s been a collective and collaborative effort – much like our action to tackle environmental issues needs to be. We hope that this course inspires others to act and work collaboratively to help NHSScotland become more environmentally sustainable.”

Michael Salkow, Learning and Development Manager, Public Health Scotland agrees:

“It can sometimes be hard to know where to start with a huge topic like sustainability. By providing an overview of what sustainability is and what NHSScotland is doing, we hope this will help everyone gain a better understanding of the concepts and encourage everyone to think about how they can get involved in our collective efforts.”

Find out more

Log into your TURAS Learn account to access the environmental sustainability course.

If your board uses Learn Pro, you can still access the course by opening a TURAS account – TURAS Learn is available to all NHSScotland staff.

Photo by Francesco Gallarotti on Unsplash