Five environmental projects were presented with CleanMed Europe Best Practice Awards during CleanMed 2006, Europe's largest conference on sustainable products and practices in healthcare. The awards were presented by Professor Ake Wennmalm, Environment Director of Stockholm County Council, and Dr. Stefan Gara of the Institute for Sustainable Health Care Vienna, during a ceremony in the Golden Room of Stockholm Town Hall.
The CleanMed Best Practice Awards form part of an international biannual conference dedicated to spreading good environmental practice in health care through showcasing case studies of progressive practices from health care facilities around the globe. This year winners were chosen in five categories from among 65 international entrants. Criteria for selection include pollution prevention, waste minimisation, and reduction of people's exposure to toxic substances commonly used in hospitals.
Professor Ake Wennmalm said, "The Best Practice Awards celebrate success stories of people working to make healthcare more sustainable, giving hospitals the chance to share their experiences of introducing more environmentally-friendly practices."
The Award for Avoidance of Toxic Substances was presented to Olomouc Hospital from the Czech Republic, for work to phase out medical devices containing DEHP from its Department of Neonatology.(1)
Ladislav Kleger, project advisor from the Czech environmental NGO Arnika, said, "The project was important because new-born infants are not only the most susceptible to hazards posed by DEHP, they are also the most exposed patient group."
The Award for Waste Reduction and Waste Management was presented to the public medical facilities of Regione Emilia-Romagna, Italy. The project team implemented a region-wide program to improve waste management through better communication and training.
Pawel Gluszynski, Waste Campaign Coordinator for Health Care Without Harm Europe, said, "Projects like this are vital for dealing with one of the major burdens on health care systems and the environment, which is quite simply the huge amount of waste which hospitals produce."
Other award categories included Environmental Performance, presented to the Otto Wagner Hospital in Vienna for using environmentally- friendly techniques to improve patient and worker welfare; the Award for Environmental Protection, awarded to Stockholm County Council; and the Award for Communication and Awareness, presented to Karolinska Hospital, Sweden.