Hospitals Worldwide Call for Action on Climate Change
In November, as the COP23 climate negotiations continued, staff from approximately 20 hospitals and health systems came together at a roundtable meeting to discuss healthcare’s response to climate change and sign Health Care Without Harm’s Call to Action on Climate Change.
The two-day high-level roundtable meeting was convened by the European Healthcare Climate Council- a newly formed coalition of European hospitals and health systems that are committed to strengthening the healthcare sector’s response to climate change.
The meeting served as a platform to discuss the challenges and ambitions of hospitals and health systems in their efforts to build low-carbon and resilient healthcare. Discussions contributed to the development of a common vision of Climate-Smart Health Care – a term coined by the World Bank Group in a recent report which sets forth both low-carbon and resilience strategies designed for the development community, ministries of health, hospitals, and health systems to deploy while addressing the health impacts of climate change.
Health Care Call to Action of Climate Change
The Call to Action - which was also signed by several organisations represented at the roundtable meeting - has already been signed by over 120 institutions from 31 countries, representing the interests of more than 10,000 hospitals and health centres around the world. It is a powerful message from the healthcare sector about the need for action and leadership from all parts of the wider system.
This message from hospitals and health systems to colleagues and sister institutions around the world calls on healthcare to address its own climate impacts, and to prepare for expected serious climate-change induced extreme weather impacts...
HCWH Europe launches new project to measure GHG emissions from European hospitals
With financial support from the German development agency GIZ, HCWH Europe recently launched a pilot project to support six European hospitals in measuring their carbon footprint, including greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the use of anaesthetic gases. During the project, which will run until March 2018, HCWH Europe will work with hospitals from France, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden to measure emissions and share data. In order for the EU to meet its 2030 climate and energy package targets, countries must set national goals for different economic sectors. While healthcare makes up an estimated 5% of European GHG emissions, very few health systems have measured their carbon footprint or set emission reduction targets.
To be able to set national and European targets for the healthcare sector, the sector must first track and measure its emissions. Very little data about carbon emissions from the European healthcare sector (especially those from the use of anaesthetic gases) currently exists. This pilot project seeks to enable and support European hospitals to track emissions from their activities. In doing so, they will be able to quantify their environmental impact and set emission reduction targets. The project places specific emphasis on anaesthetic gases, as a relatively unexplored source of GHG emissions.
20 Organisations sign declaration expressing serious concern about pharmaceuticals in the environment in the EU
A group of twenty organisations – lead by Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) Europe – today sent a Declaration to European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, expressing their deep concern about the threat posed by pharmaceuticals in the environment to European citizens, their communities, and the environment. The Declaration comes during World Antibiotic Awareness Week and on the eve of European Antibiotic Awareness Day.
The consortium of organisations, which is made up of hospitals, health organisations, professional health and student associations, and health and environment NGOs, wrote to the Commissioner to highlight the importance of introducing ambitious legislation in the upcoming Strategic Approach to Pharmaceuticals in the Environment (due to be released in early 2018).
The Declaration also highlights the unintended consequences of the release of increasing amounts of pharmaceuticals into the environment on both human and environmental health.
“Pharmaceuticals in the environment are a global pollution problem which needs to be addressed immediately. By allowing this known problem to continue we are running a global experiment with no control group. We do not know enough about the long-term and cumulative cocktail effects of small amounts of pharmaceutical residues in our water and food supply and we need to apply the precautionary principle and reduce exposure where possible. We urgently need to minimise the release of pharmaceuticals into the environment at all stages of their life cycle in order to limit the potential damage to human or environmental health.”
Each day during World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW), which took place from 13th-19th November, we shared articles and resources on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and Pharmaceuticals in the environment, summarised here.
Day 1 - What is AMR?
The week began with an introduction to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) – how it occurs and what the extent of the problem is.
Whilst recognising that antibiotics are an important part of modern medicine, the environmental and health risks associated with the over-prescription of antibiotics, pollution from pharmaceutical production, and the improper disposal of unused antibiotics cannot be ignored. At HCWH Europe, we work to raise awareness about the health and environmental consequences of AMR, and promote ways to constrain this growing problem.
Day 2 - Antibiotics in food and agriculture
On day two, the use of antibiotics in agriculture was in the spotlight – food is an often under-recognised pathway of AMR. There are a number of risks associated with the intensive use of antimicrobials in agriculture; drug-resistant strains of microorganisms can be passed on to humans via:
Direct contact with animals on farms
Processing, transport, or handling of food animals and food
The environment (e.g. contamination of water and soil via manure or waste water discharge from plants manufacturing antibiotics)
The middle of World Antibiotic Awareness Week coincided with launch event for the 10th European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD),organised and hosted by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) – a recording of the livestream is available online here. We added our commitment to keep antibiotics working (the theme of this years EAAD) with a video pledge:
In the pledge, Pharmaceuticals Policy Officer Adela Maghear outlines how HCWH Europe works with different stakeholders – health professionals, patients, and policy makers – to ensure that there is an awareness about how pharmaceuticals in the environment can lead to AMR, and an appropriate response in behaviour change and policy. The pledge also calls for the need to take a ‘One Health’, collaborative approach to keeping antibiotics working.
On Thursday , we shared our Safer Pharma campaign video to further explain the problem of pharmaceuticals in the environment and sources of pharmaceutical pollution.
Day 5 – Serious concern about pharmaceuticals in the EU environment
On the eve of European Antibiotic Awareness Day (18/11/2017), a group of twenty organisations – led by Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) Europe –sent a declaration to European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, expressing their deep concern about the threat posed by pharmaceuticals in the environment to European citizens, their communities, and the environment. [See more below]
Take a look back at a week of antibiotic awareness:
Producing food consumes a great quantity of varied resources and produces greenhouse gas emissions; therefore (for the sake of the environment), food waste should be prevented and reduced.
In this webinar, we will present Germany’s current approach to preventing food waste. Barbara FRIEDRICH from the German Environment Agency (UBA) will speak about UBA’s food waste prevention programme the agency’s guidelines that show how preventing food waste and making good use of leftovers can work in the catering sector.
From a national experience the webinar will move on to a practical project carried out by the organisation FOODWIN with the Hospitals of Bruges, in Belgium, with the support of the City of Bruges. The project is being carried out by the organisation FoodWIN with the support of the City of Bruges. Jasmien WILDEMEERSCH will present the first results of measuring food waste in the healthcare sector in Flanders.
Finally, Thomas LUTTIKHOLD from the organisation Wastewatchers in the Netherlands will elaborate on the implications of food waste providing specific recommendations on how to go about measuring and reducing food waste and showcasing best practices in the Netherlands and beyond.
The webinar is aimed at catering managers, policy makers, and healthcare facility managers who are interested in practical steps towards food waste prevention and reduction in the healthcare sector and beyond.
Danger of EU food waste targets being scrapped; campaigners and FLW platform members call for urgent action
Members of the EU’s Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste (FLW Platform) have urgently called on the European Council and Commission to set EU food waste reduction targets now, rather than wait for a methodology to be set first.
European trialogue negotiations are currently in progress to decide on the next 13 years of EU food waste policy. In March, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of establishing targets to halve EU food waste by 2030 from farm to fork, and has been arguing in favour of these in the negotiations.
The European Council has been trying to block the European Parliament’s proposed EU food waste targets, on the grounds that the Council wants a definition and methodology for measurement of food waste to be set first. If the Council continue to block targets, there is a risk that EU food waste targets may be scrapped completely which would seriously jeopardise the EU’s ability to meet Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, a target to halve per capita food waste by 2030.
Now members of the FLW Platform, including Slow Food, Feedback, and Health Care Without Harm Europe, have come out rejecting the European Council’s argument. They argue that targets definitely can and should be set before a methodology for measurement is developed, and obstructing targets will dangerously damage the EU’s ability to meet SDG 12.3.
The FLW Platform was set up by the European Commission to help set the methodology for the EU measurement of food waste, and is scheduled to come up with a food waste methodology by 2018. If food waste targets are adopted by the EU in 2017, it will take at least 2 years for this law to be translated into member state law, by which point it would be possible to incorporate the Platform’s methodology into the targets.
Carolinum Clinic receives the BUND Energy saving hospital label
The German healthcare sector is the fifth biggest energy consumer out of the German service sectors/non-productive sectors; which therefore makes it difficult for hospitals to save energy. HCWH Europe member, Friends of the Earth Berlin (BUND), recognises ambitious hospitals who are working to reducing their energy consumption with the Energy saving hospital label.
Last month, the Carolinum Clinic received this label; between 2012-2016 the hospital decreased its energy consumption by 18% equivalent to 280 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per annum. The Carolinum Clinic is a rehab hospital in Hesse, central Germany that focuses on orthopaedics, neurology, and geriatrics. With 327 beds, the hospital annually cares for 2,400 patients.
In order to increase energy efficiency, the clinic renewed its district heat station, which included various measures such as the installation of:
A combined power and heat plant with an electric capacity of 140 kilowatt (kW) and a thermic capacity of 212 kW,
Twelve new pumps, and;
Two new gas boilers, each with a capacity of 1,350 kW
The hospital also integrated a ventilation system with heat recovery in the swimming bath for patients. The Carolinum Clinic is now one of the 46 hospitals that hold the Energy saving hospital label. The label is given to hospitals with very high-energy conservation and lasts for a period of five years. If a hospital continues to save energy and/or reduce its energy consumption, it is possible to apply for the label again.
Former HCWH Europe board member, GGHH staff, and members among the winners of the 2017 “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare” Awards
On Tuesday night (14/11/2017) an award ceremony to honour the “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare” took place in Düsseldorf, Germany. There were ten winners in the “Sustainability” category and amongst them were former HCWH Europe board member Sonia Roschnik, Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH) Policy Director, Scott Slotterback, and representatives from three GGHH members.
The 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare awards programme honours individuals in healthcare deemed by their peers and the senior editors of Grupo Midia’s Healthcare Management magazine to be the most influential individuals in the industry, in terms of leadership and impact. The 10 award winners in each category receive equal recognition and honours at the ceremony and in Healthcare Management International magazine.
Sonia Roschnik served on HCWH Europe’s board for a number of years and was honoured to her commitment to sustainable healthcare at the ceremony. She is a Sustainable Health Advisor, and was Previous Head of Unit to the NHS England Sustainable Development Unit. In her distinguished career, Sonia spent almost twenty years working in health and social services in the UK, Europe, and further afield. She also has experience working as a clinician, PFI project manager, and Deputy Director of Operations at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge.
L-R: Ahmed Idhammad, Mohammed VI University Hospital of Marrakesh; Sonia Roschnik; Tim Eden, Membership & Development Officer, HCWH Europe (collecting an award on behalf of Scott Slotterback, GGHH Policy Director)
Call on the NHS to stop buying antibiotic from polluting factories
A new petition based in the U.K. aims to use the healthcare sector's purchasing power to prioritise purchasing antibiotics from manufacturers with minimal environmental impact.
Industrial pollution from unmonitored disposal of antibiotic active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) in Asian waterways has been proven to contribute to the proliferation of resistant bacteria. APIs sold and procured in Europe are often produced in Asia, meaning that pharmaceutical companies don't have to deal directly with the consequences of pharmaceutical pollution.
"Every year the NHS spends millions of pounds on tackling superbugs yet at the same time sources antibiotics from companies that are helping to create the problem in the first place!
The irony is painful: through irresponsible drug procurement the NHS is unwittingly fuelling a public health crisis which is already having a dramatic impact on lives and compromising life-saving treatments such as chemotherapy."
New online course in clinical environmental medicine
Scopro are offering course in Clinical Environmental Medicine - this discipline concerns the impact of environmental factors on individual health risks; it deals with the awareness, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of illnesses.
Scopro offer both a Basic and an upgraded Professional Course in a blended learning format: online lectures of around 5–20 minutes can be viewed at any time and classroom events supplement the content of the syllabus.
The Basic Course covers theory and practise of the skills in handling the basic challenges. 45honline lectures and 20hclassroom events
The Professional Course offers further details to step deeper into clinical environmental matters. 75honline lectures and 20hclassroom events
(h = class hour, 45 min each)