Simple actions like dimming lights at night is saving the largest NHS Trust thousands and is helping patients sleep
A pilot behaviour change project encouraging nurses, doctors and hospital staff to take three simple actions - turning off unused equipment, switching off lights, and closing hospital doors - has saved London-based Barts Health NHS Trust, the largest NHS Trust in the UK, £100,000 in energy bills. Patients in wards where the pilot took place also reported improved experience through better sleep, reporting a third fewer incidences of sleep disruption, and a quarter fewer privacy disruptions than in non-pilot wards.
The behaviour change project, called Operation TLC, reached 15,000 Barts Health NHS Trust employees, including nurses, doctors and support staff. Using behaviour change approaches such as highly targeted education efforts, social norming, and staff advocacy, the programme reduced the number of lights left on in wards by up to 40 per cent. Ensuring that staff closed crucial doors allowed for better temperature regulation and increased patient safety and privacy. Barts Health NHS Trust has estimated that rolling the programme out across the whole Trust could save a further £400,000. If similar “nudge” techniques were used across all health trusts in the UK, the NHS could save as much as £35million.
The inspiration, practical support, and funding for the project came from a public-private-NGO partnership between Barts Health NHS Trust, Skanska, GE, and environmental charity Global Action Plan, provider of the UK’s only environmental behaviour change programmes endorsed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The programme paid for itself in less than one year, representing a greater return on investment than many other energy efficiency investments.
"Operation TLC has delivered improved patient care at the core of our business whilst empowering our entire workforce to take action on energy usage and climate change. It has been a truly inspiring project and one I hope other NHS Trusts will be inspired to follow." - Fiona Daly, Environmental Manager, Barts Health NHS Trust
“Sometimes getting people to do simple things can be a complex task, especially in the NHS where focus is rightly on patient care and not light bulbs. But this programme demonstrates that with the right expertise, and the right combination of techniques, you can run a cost-effective programme that saves energy and adds benefit for patients and staff. Sustainability programmes can contribute to an organisation’s core objectives.” Trewin Restorick, CEO, Global Action Plan
Working in partnership with Barts Health Trust, GE and Global Action Plan on this programme has created considerable savings for the Trust but more importantly it has benefited patients. It is a great example of what can be achieved when you work together.” Dylan Roberts, Director of Health and Safety, Skanska UK