Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) is taking the next step to ‘go green’ encouraging more patients to use the digital services on offer, that bring care closer to people’s homes whilst working to make its hospitals more sustainable.
The trust, which runs hospitals in Andover, Basingstoke and Winchester has expanded its virtual appointment offer, which started during the pandemic but remains popular with patients.
This added choice for patients to talk to their health team virtually, where clinically appropriate, not only enhances patient experience but helps to protect the planet – reducing travel and emissions when visiting hospital. HHFT’s Friends and Family survey results from March 2020 to date, highlight that 93% of patients have had a positive experience with video appointments.
From March 2020 to March 2022, over 430,000 outpatient appointments were completed via telephone or video (over 37%) saving an estimated 157.2K miles of patient travel and 27 tonnes of reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Gabriel Whitlingum, paediatrician at Hampshire Hospitals, said: “Providing video appointments has helped support families whilst minimising any disruption to their everyday lives. Appointments are more accessible, especially helping those who find getting into the hospital challenging, and half of my work is now delivered remotely.”
Hampshire Hospitals also offers other digital services including an online patient portal known as ‘Patient Hub’. This optional service makes it easier for patients to manage their appointments online and can be accessed from a mobile or computer. Since December 2020, the trust has saved more than £84,457 by moving from printed patient letters to digital letters within Patient Hub.
In October 2020, the NHS became the first healthcare provider to commit to achieving net zero emissions by 2040.
Shirlene Oh, chief strategy and population health officer at Hampshire Hospitals, said: “The biggest challenge to public health this century is climate change. We’re incredibly proud to be part of the net zero mission and are taking further steps to drive sustainability across our hospitals.
“Our digital services help us care for patients and our planet, by providing care in more convenient ways for patients that also help to reduce our carbon footprint. I’d encourage as many people as possible to take advantage of these brilliant services that can help us have a greener future”.
Hampshire Hospitals has a number of wider sustainability initiatives in progress including the planting of 500 trees and hedging plants across its sites, the installation of electric vehicle charge points and the launch of an electric bike scheme.