Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Great value Unlimited Broadband from an award winning provider  


Caithness General Hospital secures a world first for pioneering environmental work

8th January 2020

Photo Gallery

Photograph of Caithness General Hospital secures a world first for pioneering environmental work

Caithness General Hospital in Wick is the first hospital in the world to gain the prestigious Alliance of Water Stewardship standard.

Pioneering work in Wick has enabled the town's main hospital to be awarded international status for work undertaken to reduce the impact of pharmaceuticals on the environment.

NHS Highland has been involved in a major multi-agency project designed to reduce the pollution caused by medicines emanating from the hospital, and this award is recognition of an ongoing initiative designed to make the healthcare provided at the hospital "greener" by reducing its environmental impact.

NHS Highland's Environmental and Sustainability Manager John Burnside said: "This award is a clear indication of the board's desire to be at the forefront of environmental sustainability.

"This project has enabled Caithness General Hospital to lead the way in reducing the impact the medicines we prescribe can have on the environment. We have a strong economic and social responsibility to the communities we serve and it is vitally important we reduce our carbon footprint.

"We are delighted that Caithness General Hospital is the first hospital in the world, and the only site of any kind in the UK, to be recognised with the Alliance of Water Stewardship standard."

Chief Executive Officer of Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), Adrian Sym, said: "NHS Highland is at the forefront of a growing movement to tackle the impacts of pharmaceuticals on the environment and on public health, and has demonstrated global leadership by employing water stewardship as part of these efforts.

“We are delighted that Caithness General is the first hospital in the world to achieve AWS certification in recognition of this work. At AWS we are committed to taking the learning from this project to encourage other hospitals to follow NHS Highland's lead, confident in the belief that together we can make a valuable contribution to efforts to address the impacts of pharmaceuticals on aquatic ecosystems worldwide."

NHS Highland has worked in partnership with Aurora Sustainability Group throughout this project. Iain Findlay from Aurora said: “We are delighted to have played a part in helping NHS Highlands achieve this world-first in gaining the AWS Certification. It's clear that water stewardship will be a major issue in the coming years as climate change drives the need for a more systemic approach to how organisations operate. We congratulate NHSH and the other stakeholders in this work, and encourage other organisations across Scotland to draw inspiration from this groundbreaking achievement."

It is thought that that between 30 and 90 per cent of all medicines taken orally can be excreted into the waste water system as an active substance in urine. What's more, in the UK alone, around £300 million worth of dispenses medicines go unused and are ultimately discarded, often by people who flush them down the toilet.

Given that water is such a vital resource in the Highlands, in terms of everything from wildlife and food and drink to tourism and recreation, NHS Highland is keen to reduce the impact its work has through what is known as water stewardship.

And key to that has been the Caithness initiative, which has seen the health board working with a collaboration of agencies collectively known as the Green Breakthrough Partnership and including the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Water, Highland and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and the University of the Highlands and Islands' Environmental Research Institute (ERI) in Thurso.

The project has involved carrying out an in-depth analysis of changes in the quality of water from its source, Loch Calder, to Caithness General Hospital and onwards to the local wastewater treatment plant.

And it’s hoped that the processes used in the research, and what has been learned, can be applied to hospitals and other healthcare sites across the region.

Caithness General was chosen for the project because of the relatively straightforward water system from Loch Calder, the hospital’s proximity to the ERI’s base and the fact that there’s a good spread of water uses - agriculture, distilling, food production, fishing, etc. - in the system.

The project has also been listed as finalists in at the Edie Sustainability Leaders Awards 2020, which sees NHS Highland shortlisted alongside companies such as Coca-Cola and WWF UK.

See the Photo Gallery for Loch Calder water works opened in 2004.


Related Businesses


Related Articles

NHS Highland Widens Hospital Visiting Hours
NHS Highland plans to open up hospital visiting times so that patients can benefit from more flexible arrangements at the end of this month (July 2019).   Rather than having visiting hours at set times, the board's Welcome / Failte Initiative will see patients being able to ask friends, relatives and carers to visit at times that better suit everyone involved.  
First GP mentors in Highland
For the first time in Highland GPs working in the area now have access to mentor support to help promote staff health and wellbeing.   NHS Highland's Mentoring Scheme, which saw the first trained mentors graduate in 2016, was recently extended to include GPs as trained mentors and a group of 10 mentors were successful in graduating last month (February).  
University Of The Highlands And Islands Welcomes First Cohort Of Midwifery StudentsThumbnail for article : University Of The Highlands And Islands Welcomes First Cohort Of Midwifery Students
The University of the Highlands and Islands has welcomed its first cohort of students onto an innovative new midwifery course.  Nineteen students gathered at the Centre for Health Science in Inverness on Monday 7 January 2019 to begin the shortened midwifery programme.  
Health and social care phone numbers for Caithness
NHS Highland has created a handy list of telephone numbers to help improve access to healthcare services in Caithness - including a single point of contact number for community health and social care.  The information is given on a laminated double-sided A4 flyer with timely advice about the health board's services and the relevant telephone numbers for these and associated services.  
Caithness General Hospital to connect to Wick District Heating Scheme
NHS Highland has agreed that the Caithness General Hospital will be heated by energy delivered by the wood fuelled district heating scheme in Wick.   Supply of low cost renewable energy will begin immediately.  
Ward At Caithness General Closed Due To Diarrhoea and VomitingThumbnail for article : Ward At Caithness General Closed Due To Diarrhoea and Vomiting
A ward at Caithness General Hospital has been closed to new admissions and visitors are being asked to stay away while staff deal with several cases of diarrhoea and vomiting.   Bignold Wing currently has seven patients affected and samples have shown that norovirus is present in the ward.  
Statements From NHS Education Scotland (NES) and NHS Highland Regarding Training Of Junior Doctors At Caithness General
Statement From NHS Education Scotland (NES) NES quality management visit, Caithness General Hospital.   NHS Education Scotland (NES) is accountable to the General Medical Council (GMC) for assessing whether doctors in training are in an appropriate training environment.    We carried out a quality management visit to Caithness General Hospital on Friday 13rd February to assess the quality of the learning experience and learning environment for postgraduate medical trainees in line with General Medical Council Standards.  The visit was prompted by a shortage of substantive consultants in post and continued heavy reliance on locums and therefore the potential impact on the quality of training and supervision of doctors in training.  
Patients Rights Updated In New Code
NHS Highland recently discussed the new Patients Rights Act.   The Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011 aims to improve patients' experiences of using health services and to support people to become more involved in their health and health care.  
Caithness District Partnership Meeting
The new Caithness District Partnership will meet in full for the second time on Friday 28 September, as part of the new arrangements under the Planning for Integration (P4i) partnership between the NHS and The Highland Council.   Partners will consider a report from the NHS steering group, who are recommending a Stakeholder Engagement Plan.  
NHS Highland Achieves 'Exceptional' Patient Safety Rating
NHS Highland has emerged as one of the top two health boards in Scotland in a national assessment of patient safety standards.  The board has scored an "exceptional" 4.0 on a five-point scale set by the American-based Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), in conjunction with Healthcare Improvement Scotland.