Greener Practice - Environment & Sustainability
Our values: - Our People, Our Place and our Planet!
The core purpose of Penryn Surgery is to 'support your health' - which means helping you stay well, emotionally and physically.
This means looking after the places we live and work in. We're working to bring our carbon impact down, and helping us all see the connections between the health of us all as people, and the health of the plant we live on.
We take part in the Green Impact for Health Scheme run by the Royal College of General Practitioners and the National Union of Students. We are delighted that everything we've done already towards carbon reduction and sustainability has been recognised and we have been awarded with the silver award in May 2022 following on from our bronze award in 2020,
The climate emergency is also a health emergency, and health care in the UK contributes 5.4% of the UK's carbon emissions. We need to enhance the health of our current population without compromising the health of future generations, and this means operating within the sustainable boundaries of the planet. We're working with Kernow Primary Care (ie all the sugeries in Cornwall) commitment to getting to carbon net zero by 2030.
Fortunately most of the solutions for the planet also make our health better - for example eating a mainly plant based diet, engaging in active travel and exercise in nature, avoiding smoking, reducing pollution etc all enhance our health and reduce our need for medications, with further benefits to the NHS, your health and the carbon footprint of healthcare.
Take a look at the Green Impact website to learn more.
How you can help
There is so much you can do to help- we can't wait to hear your ideas to help us be even better at looking after our people, place and planet. We've got some ideas below - what could you add?
Reduce your travel to the surgery
By using telephone consultations and making the most out of telephone appointments, emailing photographs and receiving documents by text or email, then you can reduce the amount of unnecessary travel to the Practice. There will always be a need for face-to-face-appointments: but if we keep these to a minimum we can all reduce our travel-carbon footprint.
Whever possible use public transport or perhaps you live close enough to the surgery to walk or cycle to your appointments or to collect medication? For bus times visit https://www.firstbus.co.uk/
Avoid medication waste
As part of the Practice’s work to reduce wasted medication we will be reviewing the amount of prescriptions issued to minimise the amount of medications that are wasted by patients. The drivers behind this are:
- The financial cost to the NHS. A report by the Department of Health estimates that unused medicines cost the NHS around £300 million every year, with an estimated £110 million worth of medicine returned to pharmacies, £90 million worth of unused prescriptions being stored in homes and £50 million worth of medicines disposed of by care homes
- Environmental cost. Pharmaceutical waste in the environment is thought to have significant implications for the structure and functioning of ecosystems. Given the ongoing rise in pharmaceutical use and misuse, it is likely that without significant intervention, this issue will be exacerbated further in the coming years. As the majority of medicines come with non-recyclable plastic packaging the damage to the environment of un-used medication is worrying on many levels
- When ordering patients should always specify what medication they need when
re-ordering and avoid stock-piling
- Upon collection patients should always to check their medication bag when they collect as once it is removed from the building then it cannot be re-used but will be destroyed
- Reject unwanted medications. If a Pharmacy gives you something you have not ordered then do not accept it. Give it back to the dispenser straight away. Ask the surgery to remove it from your repeat prescription list and if it happens again then do make a complaint to the Pharmacist and let the surgery know.
Did you know you can recycle asthma inhalers?
Our dispensaries will recycle your used asthma inhalers, just take it back to them.
The aluminium is remade into other products, such as car parts of components for air conditioning units.
If you have asthma, the practice nurse will advise if you are suited to a dry-powder inhaler. These are great for us, and for our environment- they're becoming more and more used these days. Ask at your next review if you can switch.
Support the surgery's and our partners' initiatives
Simple things can help the environment and the local community:
Your old computer and phone could help someone reduce their loneliness and isolation. By donating an unused electronics you can help reduce loneliness and isolation for people in Cornwall, as well as help in their everyday lives doing online shopping.
Your old bicycle can be donated and re-used through https://www.liferecycle.co.uk/
Cornwall Life Recycle aims to improve the lives of everyone who attends. Having their own transport allows them to go out wherever and whenever they want to, meeting people and making new friends.
Making sure we're all well
We'll go the extra mile to make sure you stay well, including working with Healthy Cornwall and making sure our social prescribers help ypu find the route to wellbeing that's spot on for you.
Have you tried parkrun? We have linked with the Penryn Campus parkrun to become a parkrun practice and many of us take either as runners, walkers or volunteers. Come and join us on any Saturday morning in front of Tremough House. You can find our more here: Parkrun
Volunteer! Just contact Volunteer Cornwall and they can find something you'll love to do.
Have you done a beach clean? They're fantastic for the planet and for meeting people, getting some fresh sea air and walking along our gorgeous coastline. Check Surfers Against Sewage for details of a beach clean near you, or just pick up a bag and gloves as you enter many of our beaches and drop it off as you leave.