The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare has donated cherry trees to the RCGP as part of a campaign to create the NHS Forest. The College is encouraging members to join the programme in support of a greener and healthier future for their communities.
The NHS Forest inspires and supports healthcare sites to transform their green space for health, wellbeing and biodiversity. So far, the College's Faculty Network has worked with 100 GP practices to support the scheme, with 218 trees planted at sites across the UK.
Beyond tree planting, the NHS Forest initiative also supports healthcare settings establish a wide range of green spaces on and around their land, which offer multiple benefits to the people and wildlife that inhabit and visit them. This includes planting gardens for rest and recovery, creating woodland, planting hedgerows and meadows that create habitats for wildlife, and providing growing space for fruit and vegetables.
RCGP Chair Professor Kamila Hawthorne participated in the scheme at her practice in Mountain Ash in Wales, and said: "As we mark the College's 70th anniversary, it’s important to look forward to the future we want to see for our communities, and the environmental legacy we want to leave.
"The environment is one of our most under-estimated health tools - we know that when patients can get the most from the natural environment, it can have a hugely positive impact on their physical and mental health.
"I'd really encourage members to take up the opportunity to join the NHS Forest tree-planting initiative, or its wider schemes, aimed at providing accessible green space for patients and improving the natural environment. It supports the College's wider strategic priority to respond to the climate and ecological emergency, while enhancing GP surgeries as a hub for the local community."