The NHS's latest cost-cutting idea: turning lights off

An energy-saving project being trialled at Barts Health hospitals is predicted to save the NHS £400,000 over the next year, without spending a penny.

The TLC (Turn Off – Lights Out – Close Doors) pilot scheme at The Royal London and Barts has already saved £100,000 by encouraging staff to turn off machinery, switch off lights and close doors.

The scheme is based on behavioural theory, getting groups of people to work together and remind each other to make small changes, which add up to big improvements.

Barts Health NHS Trust’s environmental manager Fiona Daly believes the scheme could be successful if rolled out in other NHS areas. ‘We estimate if all health trusts in the UK introduced these techniques, the NHS could save as much as £35 million in a year,’ she said.

The project involved appointing sustainability champions among matrons and other ward staff who then encouraged colleagues to change their behaviour and become more environmentally friendly.

Rewards were offered as incentives, and pens, biscuits and fair trade snacks were offered to get staff to be more energy aware.

Trevor Payne, Barts Health NHS Trust’s director of estates and facilities, said: ‘We have some fantastic new buildings and facilities within the trust, but it is how people use them that make the biggest difference.

‘Ensuring that sustainability is fully integrated into all aspects of delivering healthcare within the NHS is paramount to the future provision of healthcare in England.’

Photo: Matt Brown (via Flickr)

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