Keywords: environmental management system, environmental performance, health and safety, health determinants, health impacts, hospitals, quality management, sustainable futures, healthcare, organisational culture, UK hospital trusts
Developing an environmental management system for a UK hospital trust
This paper discusses the approach to tackling environmental issues in the hospital sector. It considers the emphasis placed on environmental issues within the sector, the problems encountered and the opportunities realised during the process of developing an environmental management system. The paper explores the characteristics of hospitals' environmental aspects and the impacts that may arise from their activities. The method involved, first, content analysis of health and research reports to evaluate the health sector's approach to environmental issues, and, second, a case study of the developing environmental management system in a local hospital and its environmental performances over the first 12-month period following its introduction. The paper concludes that, by implementing an environmental management system, many of the internal cultural issues can be resolved and a hospital's environmental performance improved. Such environmental management systems call for an integrative approach rather than separate quality, health and safety and environmental management systems.