Salisbury District Hospital has announced that it has won this year’s national NHS Forest award for successful ways to support biodiversity.
NHS Forest inspires and supports healthcare sites in transforming their green space for health, wellbeing and biodiversity.
Each year, at their autumn conference, they present awards to NHS Forest sites that have created inspiring green spaces and used them in particularly innovative ways.
Over the past three years the hospital has worked hard to achieve greater engagement and understanding of the natural environment in and around the site, which extends to approximately 21 hectares in its countryside setting.
Key was the production of a full colour nature guide, complete with illustrations, scientific information and seasonal calendar, written by staff member James Macpherson.
The hospital’s Facilities Waste and Grounds Team has mapped and created a strategy for protected wildflower verges, and ArtCare, the hospital’s arts in health service, has created a walking guide to public footpaths and natural spaces around the hospital.
There are also monthly nature walks for staff and the public, species surveys, creative activities and online resources.
As part of the Well-City Salisbury project, ArtCare has partnered with artists to host an eight-week course providing activities for mental health referral participants.
Working with Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, a CAMHS garden to support younger mental health patients has also been developed at the hospital.
Staff, patients and visitors are now more connected to the natural environment, the grounds are better managed, wildflowers are flourishing, including bee orchids, and staff have relaxing outdoor spaces to visit during breaks.
Gemma Heath, sustainability manager at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Thanks to dedicated and collaborative working between nature groups, staff member James Macpherson, ArtCare, and the Facilities Waste and Grounds team, I am delighted that the hospital has won the national NHS Forest Award for Successful Ways To Support Biodiversity.
“The natural environment is an important part of our hospital site and has a vital role to play as we work towards a greener NHS.
“It provides staff, patients and visitors with increased wellbeing, helps reduce carbon emissions, supports habitat and species conservation,and encourages education.”