healthCTC is leading a prevention team to work directly with healthcare organisations in the application of prevention tools and techniques developed in the course of previous projects. This, The Green Healthcare Programme, is a major national initiative being implemented as part of the EPA’s National Waste Prevention Programme (NWPP), and will, in time, greatly enhance the environmental performance of this sector.

Initially, three hospitals in Cork were included as part of a pilot study in 2009. In the first instance it was important to engage with hospital management and staff to ensure buy in to the project. This included reviewing with them the significant amount of work already done on energy and water surveys. Separate methodologies were then developed to undertake food waste, clinical waste and mixed residual waste characterisation surveys as well as for water flow surveys.

Since completing the pilot, in 2010 nine more hospitals have enabled waste surveys to be completed across the country. Between the pilot phase and the surveys noted above, almost four thousand bed capacity will have been covered (25% of total national capacity). This will rise to 36% of total when surveys are completed on a further five hospitals who have volunteered for the project. This will bring to 17 the number of hospitals engaged in the first year of the project.

The results of these surveys are now being analysed but again show great promise to make substantial resource and financial savings. Benchmarks on waste, water and energy consumption per hospital bed capacity will emerge in time from these surveys. This in turn will enable any healthcare organisation to check their resource efficiency performance against national and international norms. Based on experience gained during the project, a resource efficiency toolkit is being developed to include: training materials, information booklets/leaflets, PowerPoint slides, posters and a DVD.

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