considering the environmental impacts of healthcare can be seen as both a close alignment of the health mantra of “Do no harm” and also a sensible business decision to save dollars that can be reinvested into patient care.
The holistic approach of GGHH to lessen the environmental impacts that occur in healthcare links strongly to the ISQua intent to support continuous improvement in the quality and safety of heath care worldwide.
There is no global definition for what a green and healthy hospital is or should be, but the GGHH Agenda promotes that “A green and healthy hospital is one that promotes public health by continuously reducing its environmental impact and ultimately eliminating its contribution to the burden of disease. A green and healthy hospital recognizes the connection between human health and the environment and demonstrates that understanding through its governance, strategy and operations. It connects local needs with environmental action and practices primary prevention by actively engaging in efforts to foster community environmental health, health equity and a green economy.”
With an established framework and supporting documentation of ten interconnected agenda goals around themes of Leadership, Chemicals, Waste, Energy, Water, Transportation, Food, Pharmaceuticals, Buildings and Purchasing, participants in the Network are committed to an ongoing effort at continuous improvement and taking on improvements against the ten goals over time.
Membership to the network is free and the GGHH Agenda provides a comprehensive framework for hospitals and health systems everywhere in the world to achieve greater sustainability and to contribute to improved public environmental health. It endeavours to build on the good work that is already occurring in Health care institutions around the world and provide the opportunity for a learning environment so this good work can be replicated by other hospitals in different countries and heath settings.
The GGHH network is a project of Health Care Without Harm, based in the United States, and currently has over 12,500 Hospitals and Health centres that are able to link in with each other through the member based online forum of GGHH Connect. This multilingual internet platform provides a hub to catalyse and accelerate large scale change in the health sector, and contains links to Experts, Case Studies and Guidance Documents that provide step-by-step advice to support members undertaking environmental initiatives.
The current major campaign from the GGHH network is the 2020 challenge, where participants pledge to 1) Reduce their own Carbon Footprint, 2) Prepare for and build resiliency for Climate Impacts and 3) Lead the way to a Low Carbon future. Data forms have been developed to assist members to set and track targets against the Agenda goals that will assist them in reporting their progress both internally to their own organisation and externally as a leader in limiting environmental impacts of healthcare.