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 gold award in November 2022 following on from our silver and bronze awards in previous years.
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 Greener Healthcare- Information for Patients to learn more.
Our Declaration of a Climate Emergency
We at Penryn Surgery are concerned about and recognise the importance and urgency of addressing climate change, and the serious risks that climate change poses for present and future generations.
We agree to take the following actions:
- We will tell the truth and acknowledge the climate crisis is a health crisis and an emergency.
- We are stronger together and will work with others; our staff, patients, healthcare colleagues and local communities, to create new solutions.
- We know that the climate crisis is also a health crisis, and we pledge to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions (carbon footprint) caused by our practice and aim for a Net Zero NHS.
You can read more here www.england.nhs.uk/greenernhs/
- To achieve the target of Net Zero, we will measure our carbon footprint, identify the hotspots and put plans into action to reduce each of these.
- We will pay attention to the climate footprint of our travel (both staff and patients), energy use, the services we use, and the products we buy and use. We will make low-carbon choices wherever possible. We will treat all the resources we use as valuable and not be wasteful.
- We will provide leadership through our actions and share our experiences in making cleaner choices with our staff, patients and colleagues and encourage them to sign their pledge too.
- We’ve achieved a lot already – working towards the RCGP/NUS Green Impact awards. We have reached the Gold Award but there’s still lots we can do to reduce our carbon right down and make good choices.
We aim to:
Improve our energy efficiency further
Recycle everything we can and encourage patients to do the same
Encourage both staff and patients to consider their travel choices
Thinking about what we buy so we treat the planet and farmers more kindly
Making sure we don’t waste anything, such as paper. Using electronic methods wherever possible.
Making sure people only take the medication they need to feel better
Helping our staff feel well
Talk to patients about moving more to feel good.
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/
Cycling and walking reduce congestion, improve journey reliability and help boost the local economy.
Find out more about cycling routes around Falmouth & Penryn at https://shop.sustrans.org.uk/collections/regional-map
And Walking Around Falmouth here: https://www.falmouth.co.uk/see-and-do/walking/
You can view the Falmouth and Penryn Active Travel Map https://www.penryn-tc.gov.uk/around-town/active-travel/
Penryn has a cycle shop: Cog www.cogcyclerepairanddesign.co.uk and you can alway jump on a Beryl bike to come to your appointments.
Carshare Cornwall: Cut costs by sharing car journeys https://liftshare.com/uk/community/cornwall
Co Cars car club: Local car hire by the hour, locationsin both Falmouth and Penryn. www.co-cars.co.uk
Change Your Search Engine
We use Ecosia as our default search engine so every search helps to plant new trees across the planet.
Ecosia has built its own solar plant, so that it can run its servers on carbon free power and by planting trees and offsetting its energy use with renewables, each search with Ecosia removes 1 kg of CO2 from the air. This makes Ecosia a carbon-negative search engine
Ecosia can plant one tree every 50 searches. On average, these trees will each remove 50 kg of CO2 during an expected 15 year lifetime.
You can also add an extension to your own search engines at home and it's a real incentive to see the number of green trees increase as you search.
For more info please look at www.ecosia.org
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 and pen injectors?
♥ 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.
♥ You can return pre-filled Novo Nordisk pens free of charge
Pens can be returned in a special pre-paid return box. Order your box from https://www.pen-cycle.co.uk/ or collect one from our dispensaries
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.
Medicinal Packaging Recycling
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.