‘Health services require significant amounts of resources to be able to deliver quality healthcare services to the community and, in the process, generate significant emissions and waste. But the role of South West Healthcare is not only as a health provider, but also as a health promoter where we aspire for our communities to live long healthy lives aided by strategies to reduce negative environmental impacts,’ says service development executive director Jamie Brennan.
Developed with significant feedback and input by the SWH sustainability committee and other key stakeholders across the organisation, environmental sustainability officer Elvira Hewson says the plan has a strong focus on reducing emissions and minimising waste generation, with a new emphasis on commencing a process of climate change adaptation. The introduction of hybrid cars into the general SWH fleet is a really good example.
The successful adoption of hybrids into the district nursing service fleet led fleet manager Tim van der Starre and regional supply chain manager Terry Hoy to convene a working group to investigate the financial, environmental and OHS considerations around standardising the general fleet and introducing hybrid vehicles. As a result, a small, medium and SUV hybrid model are each currently being trialled in the general fleet. Meantime another 10 hybrid vehicles have been bought and will arrive shortly – taking the overall count to 19 hybrid vehicles; close to 20 percent of the entire fleet.
‘This is a wonderful example of staff identifying and embedding change within their area of expertise and influence,’ Elvira says, adding, ‘In a recent VICFLEET data analysis, the Department of Health & Human Services found replacing medium-large cars with a medium hybrid equivalent saves in the order of 800kgCo2e per year. Replacing small cars with small hybrids reduces emissions by 400kgco2e per year.’