By Lucy Harbor, Sep 10 2015 01:43PM
The Great Ormond St. Hospital (GOSH) Sustainability Team and arts programme "GoCreate!" have worked with Cool World Consulting (CWC) to launch a project that promotes cleaner air around the hospital to make it a better and safer environment for patients.
The project tackles two issues. Firstly, Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) has a significant patient travel footprint; it receives around 240,000 patient visits per year. Most patients travel from outside London and are accompanied by several family members. Secondly, many drivers waiting to pick up and drop off patients idle their engines unnecessarily outside the hospital.
Cool World Consulting conducted rigorous background research to find out which measures would be most likely to lead to improvements in air quality. Most respondents who were idling their vehicle engines said that they would be most likely to change their behaviour if asked to by the patients themselves, rather than the hospital staff.
Patients and siblings on our respiratory wards were asked to explain how dirty air affects their condition and give suggestions on how they felt we could improve air quality around the hospital. The team asked children to portray their thoughts in a creative way by drawing pictures and we created this animation.
Their images have been put together to create fun walking maps from all the major stations in the area to GOSH, including places of interest, playgrounds, museums, and child-friendly cafés to enjoy on the way. The hope is that the maps will encourage people, where possible, to use public transport and finish their journeys to the hospital by walking rather than taking a taxi.
To reduce the incidence of vehicle idling, GOSH has worked with CWC and Camden Council to turn the street into a ‘No Idling Zone’, using street signs which have been designed with the help of some of our respiratory patients. Medical Services ambulance drivers attended a workshop on air pollution and health with CWC, and the drivers have all now pledged to switch off their engines while waiting outside of the hospital. We have additionally changed our taxi providers to Thriev and Yellow Cars so that we are served by companies with electric and hybrid fleets. Over 90% of the taxis ordered through GOSH will now be hybrid or electric.
Brendan Rouse, Energy & Sustainability Manager at GOSH, says: “Reducing air pollution decreases the negative health impacts on everyone, but it’s even more important at GOSH where we see hundreds of patients with cardio-respiratory conditions at the largest paediatric cardio-respiratory unit in the country.”
“We hope the project will improve the air quality on Great Ormond Street and encourage more visitors to use low or zero-emission forms of transport, improving the environment for our staff and everyone who lives and works nearby. It also has the benefit of creating a more serene and pleasant welcome to the hospital.”
Susie Hall, Head of Go Create! says: “I am always amazed how articulate and passionate our patients are on issues that are important to them – if you listen to the animation voice-over you can hear how strongly they feel and they are able to make the case for improving air quality so much better than we could!”