QEF wins big for going green

QE Facilities, a subsidiary company of Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, has won a prestigious International Green Apple Environment Award for environmental best practice.

The Green Apple Environment Awards were established in 1994 as an annual campaign to recognise, reward and promote environmental best practice.

The win comes as the NHS becomes the world’s first national health system to commit to become ‘carbon net zero’.

Air pollution is linked to killer conditions like heart disease, stroke and lung cancer, and academics have linked high pollution days with hundreds of extra out-of-hospital cardiac arrests and hospital admissions for stroke and asthma.

The changing climate is leading to more frequent heatwaves and extreme weather events such as flooding, including the potential spread of infectious diseases to the UK. Almost 900 people were killed by last summer’s heatwaves while nearly 18 million patients go to a GP practice in an area that exceeds the World Health Organisation’s air pollution limit.

Scientists believe perhaps a third of new asthma cases might be avoided by cutting emissions, while Lyme Disease and encephalitis are among conditions expected to become more common as temperatures rise.

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “2020 has been dominated by Covid-19 and is the most pressing health emergency facing us. But undoubtedly climate change poses the most profound long-term threat to the health of the nation. 

“It is not enough for the NHS to treat the problems caused by air pollution and climate change – from asthma to heart attacks and strokes – we need to play our part in tackling them at source.”

“The NHS has already made significant progress decarbonising our care, but as the largest employer in Britain, responsible for around 4% of the nation’s carbon emissions, if this country is to succeed in its overarching climate goals the NHS has to be a major part of the solution.”

Peter Harding, Managing Director of QE Facilities added: “QE Facilities are passionate about our continual responsibilities in reducing the impact on the environment.  We have implemented energy efficient schemes to deliver ahead of the 2020 NHS target carbon emissions, achieving a 34% reduction. We continue to work hard to meeting our next target of an 80% reduction by 2028-2032.”

The Green Apple Awards scheme was the first to be accredited as an official feeder scheme into the European Business Awards for the Environment. It is still one of only a handful of accredited campaigns and it is now the only official feeder scheme into the Green World Awards, which are held in a different country every year.

Previous Green Apple Award winners include Pepsi, Asda, Tesco, Range Rover and Mitie.

QE Facilities have been invited to be presented with the winner’s trophy and certificate at a presentation ceremony in the Houses of Parliament, on November 23rd.