Clinical team leading the way in sustainability

Consultant Dermatologist, Dr Simon Tso, from South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust is leading the way in developing sustainable practices within dermatological minor surgeries.

Our environmental impact is something we are all becoming more aware of and after inspiration from his daughter, Victoria, who had been learning about sustainability at school, Dr Tso was inspired to review his departments practices and identify opportunities to improve its carbon footprint.

The initial response was introducing recyclable products and shifting the service towards a paper free environment. This developed into creating a Dermatology Sustainability UK Group, which brings together students, trainees and health professionals from across the UK who wish to make an effort to improve sustainability in dermatology. The group, which was set up in early 2022, now has over 35 individuals, including South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust consultants Drs Alison Bedlow, Bruce Gee, Chamandeep Thind, Jonathan Carter and Simon Unter.

The group has already been nationally recognised by the British Association of Dermatologists and scooped the Green Prize in their annual awards on the 5th July.

The award winning group was set up to make a positive contribution towards sustainable dermatology and support the NHS ambition of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2040. Bringing together dermatology professionals from across the UK in helping to understand the environmental impact of dermatological minor surgery, waste management practices, and recycling rates nationally in order to inform the development of national guidance for sustainable practices and share best practice between departments. The aim is to develop a national set of standards which will drive future innovations and develop educational materials to educate students, trainees and dermatology staff on delivering a sustainable dermatological minor surgery.

Victoria Tso is a primary school student and recognises how important it is to embed sustainable practices: “When we see the nature, it is beautiful but we keep on making the same mistakes by not looking after it and destroying the environment. We need to reduce, reuse and recycle at home and at work to make the world a better place for the future.”

Dr Tso explained why he formed the Dermatology Sustainability UK Group: “We owe a duty to future generations to look after our planet. Resources are finite and we must take action to improve the sustainability of how we live and work. The NHS contributes to one-fourth of the greenhouse gas emissions within the public sector in the UK. There are lots of opportunities for NHS green initiatives to make the way we care for people more sustainable. The aim of the Dermatology Sustainability UK Group is to build a community of practice of like-minded individuals with an interests in sustainability to work collaboratively together to make impactful changes to the way we deliver dermatology services across the NHS.”

Cristina Calleja, the Trust’s Sustainability Manager, said ‘The work the Dermatology Team have been doing in Warwick is inspiring. It shows how clinical staff are best placed to developing sustainable practices within their own operations to address the net zero challenge. SWFT is committed to achieving net zero carbon by 2040 and this award recognises the fantastic work our staff are doing to contribute to our ambitions’.

South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust recognise their environmental obligations and are committed to minimising its impact on the local environment and helping to improve it. The Trust recently launched their three-year Green Plan which highlights the actions they will be taking to becoming net zero carbon emissions by 2040. You can access the Green Plan:

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