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March 2012: Professor Janet Richardson

Welcome to Janet’s BLOG on behalf of the Sustainability, Society and Health (SSH) Research Group This is my first attempt at blogging so, as a ‘reflective practitioner’ I welcome feedback on what was useful / interesting and what is best left out – just in case I decide to do this again! I am also a self-confessed technological dinosaur, but was recently introduced to the magic of twitter by my colleague Pam Nelmes who is a bit of a twitter babe amongst the Department of Health glitterati. A few weeks ago I tweeted an event I co-organised with Plymouth City Council and NHS Plymouth (Public Health) on urban planning and health. Other colleagues from the ISSR and the Faculty of Health, Education and Society were involved. The event started with a public lecture by Professor Hugh Barton from University of the West of England who gave a presentation: ‘Planning and Design as if People Mattered’. Hugh’s work with World Health Organisation European Healthy Cities Network has been inspiring, and his talk raised a number of issues, particularly regarding planning and community engagement (see tweets at #Plan4Health). Hugh’s lecture was followed the next day by a full day seminar and workshop, hosted by Plymouth City Council at the Beautiful Devonport Guildhall: ‘Partnership working for healthy sustainable communities in Plymouth’. Designed to coincide with the new Localism Bill and health reforms leading to the establishment of Health and Wellbeing Boards, we heard presentations from a range of professionals concerned with making Plymouth ‘One of Europe’s finest most vibrant waterfront cities … where quality of life can be enjoyed by everyone’. The event was interesting and stimulating, and there was a real buzz and commitment to partnership working to integrate planning with health issues in the City. Some of the presentations from the day can be found at: Further details about the UK Healthy Cities and Towns Network can be found at:

The next important event in the Health and Sustainability calendar is NHS Sustainability Day on 28th March. The aim of the day is to raise awareness within the NHS and make pledges to change actions to become more sustainable. It has been organised by the NHS Sustainable Development Unity (NHS SDU), an organisation leading the way on sustainable healthcare through training, awareness raising and providing examples of good practice. For example, the NHS SDU has been receiving positive feedback on the Sustainability in the NHS: Health Check 2012. Our contribution to this day is to publish our New Horizon (ISSR) report ‘Win Win: Saving Cost and Carbon – Sustainable Waste Management in Healthcare’. It presents the findings of an interview study with key people involved in healthcare waste management in Cornwall and illustrates blocks and enablers to managing waste more sustainably. We are taking the project forward through our sustainable healthcare waste management research team by undertaking a number of observational studies at the Duchy Hospital and Cornwall Care (care homes). We are also keen to raise awareness on NHS Sustainability Day about the NHS Forest initiative Linked to this, one of our undergraduate nursing students, Christelle Page is creating garden space for 2 wards at a hospital in Cornwall, supported by Benny Goodman and other School of Nursing and Midwifery colleagues – a great project!

Benny Goodman has recently advised on embedding sustainability into the nursing undergraduate curriculum, ensuring that sustainable healthcare is a core stand that runs throughout the curriculum, rather than an ‘add-on’. Interestingly the General Medical Council has welcomed recommendations from the Sustainable Healthcare Education (SHE) Network on priority learning outcomes for sustainable healthcare. Follow up plans are now being developed, including a wider consultation with medical schools and Royal Colleges.

And for all you Midwives – check out the Nappy Waste Summit (find out more here). West London Waste Authority brings together a range of speakers to talk about their experience and interest in alternatives to disposable nappies.

The Sustainability, Society and Health Research Group has, up to now, been a ‘virtual’ community of colleagues interested in research and pedagogy around this topic. However, we are holding an inaugural meeting of this group on 29th March, 12.30pm – 3pm in Robbins SR3. Colleagues will give a 5-10 minute presentation on their sustainability and health projects, and we will discuss work in process and ideas for future collaborations. If you would like to attend this even please contact

The Sustainable Healthcare Waste Management Team are Janet Richardson, Andy Nichols, Jane Grose, Sabine Pahl, Maria Bennallick and Sean Manzi.

Please send any feedback on this blog to

Professor Janet Richardson, School of Nursing and Midwifery

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