Michelle Cleary, A/Director Strategy and Planning
Michelle Cleary, A/Director Strategy and Planning Contributed

Health service takes ‘proactive approach’ to climate change

DARLING Downs Health considers climate change a foreseeable risk and is taking a proactive approach towards planning a health service capable of meeting the future needs of the community and the environment.

Darling Downs Health Strategy and Planning  acting director Michelle Cleary said said the organisation strived to be a leading corporate citizen.

"We recognise that the time to act on climate change is now," Ms Cleary said.

 "We recently undertook a first-pass risk screening to identify elements of our organisation which could potentially be affected by a changing climate.

"This process is the first step in providing an evidence base to inform decisions on how we prioritise future risk assessment activities, and to determine where investment into addressing current and future risks may be required."

Ms Cleary said moving forward the service was looking at strategies to enhance its environmental performance around key factors of its operations including governance; asset management; workforce planning; service demand; food and water security; reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; and renewable energy.

"Examples of initiatives already undertaken include the installation of seven holding tanks with a combined capacity of more than 480,000 litres at Kingaroy Hospital. This allows us to collect water which would have previously been lost as runoff," she said.

"At Murgon Hospital the installation of 100 solar panels, with the support of Ergon Energy, has allowed us to offset our energy use at the hospital by generating solar power, and an estimated reduction in the monthly power bill of 23 per cent.

"We are also extremely proud of our Green Warriors program which launched at Toowoomba Hospital in November 2018. This staff-driven initiative is encouraging everyone in our organisation to do their part when it comes to recycling and reducing waste and has been enthusiastically supported."

Ms Cleary said in 2018 Darling Downs Health joined the Global Green and Healthy Hospitals Network and has committed to three areas of improvement, waste, energy and water, and the sharing of leading practices and solutions.

"We are committed to continually finding ways to mitigate potential climate risks, to explore 'greener' options, and to help make health care as safe for the environment and for our community as possible for years to come," she said.