Derriford Hospital pharmacy ‘bans’ plastic bags

The Derriford Hospital pharmacy team have chosen to ban plastic bags that patients use to transport medicines home from the hospital, in an effort to be more environmentally friendly.

Staff recently suggested the idea at an ‘improvement meeting’ held to suggest improvements to the Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, and said they wanted to eliminate the use of plastic in the pharmacy as far as possible. possible.

The team therefore decided to “ban” single-use plastic bags and replace them with new reusable and recyclable paper bags that were specifically sourced and designed to reduce waste.

The Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust uses more than 1,000 bags every week for patients discharged from hospital, so the introduction of reusable and recyclable paper bags would replace “a lot of plastic waste”.

Additionally, while orders were previously shipped from China, the new paper bags are sourced from a UK supplier, further reducing carbon emissions.

And with bags of three different sizes, patients will receive a “more appropriate size bag” based on the amount of medication they contain, thereby eliminating additional waste.

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Pharmacy purchasing manager Trudy Bown said: “It’s great that the team asked for this and we were able to implement it. We wanted to do our part to reduce plastic and we recycle as much packaging as possible. We know it. It will be difficult to do without plastic in health care altogether, but it is a step on this path.

“The new bags have already received a positive response from staff on Twitter, and we’ve posted a video to show pharmacy teams how to use them effectively and hopefully inspire others to follow our lead.”

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