A sustainability group at the Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust has embarked on a remarkable initiative to create wildlife refuges on hospital sites. The Clinical Coding and Data Quality Sustainability Group, comprising staff members with a passion for environmental conservation, collaborate to devise and implement sustainable projects within the organisation.

The group has developed plans to establish wildlife areas at each of the Trust’s three hospitals: Dewsbury and District, Pinderfields in Wakefield, and Pontefract. These interventions involve the installation of hedgehog homes, solitary bee homes, and bird water baths, with the goal of establishing wildlife-friendly havens on the Trust’s grounds.

The first phase of this project has been successfully completed at Dewsbury. Nestled within the existing green space of the reflection garden, which opened its doors in June 2021, the refuge provides hospital staff with a tranquil and serene environment away from the hectic pace of hospital life.

The hedgehog population in the United Kingdom has been on a decline, with urban and suburban gardens becoming their primary habitat. By offering safe shelters for these prickly creatures, the Trust hopes to increase hedgehog sightings not only within their gardens but also in the wild.

Contrary to popular belief, the majority of bees are solitary creatures that do not form colonies. Nevertheless, they play a crucial role as pollinators and are considered a gardener’s ally. The female bee spends a significant portion of her life searching for suitable nesting sites, and a “bee hotel” can provide an ideal abode.

Trudy Harrison, Clinical Coding and Data Quality Project Manager, expressed her satisfaction with the initiative, saying, “We’re thrilled to contribute to our gardens at the Trust in fostering wildlife and providing them with a safe haven. These wildlife habitats are only the beginning of the numerous sustainability initiatives we intend to implement throughout the year. Our group actively seeks opportunities to enhance sustainability, not only within our service but also in wider projects we undertake.”

The Clinical Coding and Data Quality Sustainability Group is just one of several forums being established within the Trust, each focusing on green and sustainability activities at the team, service, or departmental level. These forums aim to foster local engagement and promote sustainability within their respective areas of work.

Peter Leighton-Jones, Head of Sustainability at Mid Yorkshire, expressed his delight in witnessing a staff group taking the lead on sustainability within their domain and emphasised the impact that can be made on a local level through individual service. Leighton-Jones remarked, “As part of MY Green Plan, which is the Trust’s three-year sustainability roadmap, we have stressed the importance of our workforce participating in working groups to generate ideas, facilitate positive changes, and foster sustainable behaviours. By working together, we can achieve remarkable outcomes, and this initiative marks an important milestone in a collective journey that we all should embark upon. Moreover, enhancing biodiversity is of utmost relevance to our role, given that studies have demonstrated the positive effects of nature on human health and well-being, both physically and mentally.”

As the Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust demonstrates its commitment to sustainability, the creation of wildlife refuges on hospital sites serves as a shining example of how small yet meaningful actions can make a significant impact on the environment and human well-being.