The fourth annual Greening the Healthcare Sector Think Tank was held on 20th November 2015 at Western Health in Footscray, Melbourne. Western Health is the home of Sustainability Officer Cath O’Shea and Dr Forbes McGain who have contributed to the health service’s leadership in implementing a comprehensive range of sustainability initiatives across several sites. Western Health is a member of the Pacific Region of the Global Green and Healthy Hospitals network, a project coordinated in Australia and New Zealand by the Climate and Health Alliance, with the support of Health Care Without Harm.

The Think Tank was attended by over 40 health sector leaders, including health service executives, directors of nursing, professional medical and nursing/ midwifery organisations, clinicians, sustainability officers, educators, health union representatives, and operations/ facilities managers. A series of inspiring speakers in the morning was followed by an afternoon of stimulating “open space” discussion.

Sessions and speakers included:

  • Paul Holman from Ambulance Victoria who had a clear message about the health impacts of climate change: heat kills.
  • Jane Carthey, Chair Australian Health Design Council, shared some stories of successes and challenges with regarding to embedding sustainability in healthcare design.
  • Patrick Tobin from Catholic Healthcare talked about the need for leadership from hospital executives.
  • Michele Burton, who is leading a program at Australian Conservation Foundation called Drivers for Sustainability.You can view the full report from the event here.

The outcomes from the meeting include:

  • support for a national advocacy campaign on climate change and health
  • the establishment of a working group on engaging nurses and midwives;
  • ideas for a Webinar on cutting energy use in health services,
  • and the establishment of a ‘googlegroup’ for Think Tank attendees (those not already part of the Global Green and Healthy Hospitals Connect platform) to stay in touch, share resources and ideas, and seek information.