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Reuse at NHS Highland, Scotland.

Warp It welcomes Ruth Innes from NHS Highland for an interview talking about communications, building interest, winning the support of departments, and trees…

Ruth Innes is the Environmental and Sustainability Support Manager at NHS Highland. NHS Highland have been on a reuse journey over the last few years.

They had their own surplus asset system and initially invited Warp It in to discuss how they could build on the progress they had made.

NHS Scotland then commissioned Warp It to provide the reuse software for the whole of the NHS healthcare in the country- including NHS Highland- starting on April 2015.

Ruth really loves the system so I thought let's talk to her! Things are going well and in this session we talk about  how Ruth has implemented the process.


NHS Highland.png

 The savings at NHS Highland since April 2015 are very impressive.


 (You can see NHS Highland current savings here.)


Ruth, your communications team do a great job, how did you get them on board so well?

They're just very, very good and always keen to help spread a good news story. They have really got behind the promotion of Warp It. 

Back in the beginning I asked if they could do an initial story about the Warp It reuse system and they were very supportive. That's just over a year now, We weren't sure how it would all go and I said at the time if we saved £12,000 in our first year, we would be absolutely delighted with that. We’ve completely blown that, we’re sitting at £121,000 now after 2 years! We’re really delighted with it. It worked. Our staff have really got involved in reuse. (Note: You can download comms support templates here)

 How have you managed to get so many staff interested?

Word of mouth really, they’re chatting about it behind the scenes, and we mention it quite a lot. We have a Waste Management Steering group and a Carbon Sustainability Group, both of these meet quarterly and we use these groups to promote the system further.


I think our staff are very aware of the financial restrictions placed on every board right now. Obviously there's pressure on every department to save, and I think people are far more careful about what they are ordering. If we can get it from someone else for free, then why not. I think people are quite savvy with what they do now. This is a change in procurement behaviour.


How have you seen mentality change during your time at Highland?

Well I think people want to recycle/reuse now, and there’s things like Gumtree and eBay and others sites like that which generally people are comfortable and familiar with. Maybe years and years ago, it was like, ‘just shove it in the skip’, or ‘we'll take it to the dump’, but I think people are just more aware and better educated now. People often think ‘somebody else could use that’. I think it's just a general awareness. People don't want to be wasteful. Most of our staff are very loyal to Highland’s mission, and the don't want to be wasting money on new equipment when they don't have to. 

Do you have any tips or advice for people who are rolling a new system out?

I think it’s a good idea to go through the whole process doing it in stages. I think it's very dependent on what your organisation is like, and if you've got a good feel for what staff will think of it. I know our staff are really good at recycling, and they're really behind it, so we were confident the system would work.


Do you have a delivery team on site for moving assets?

Our transport team have been a massive help. If they didn't make it work, it wouldn't have worked, they've been absolutely fantastic, and our guys are shipping stuff around as part of their normal run. Before I did anything else, I spoke to the transport manager and told him what we wanted to do and asked his opinion, the team were behind it right from the start.

 Part of the deal is that they don’t do specific deliveries for our stuff, but instead have to tie it in with their runs. They go all around the buildings anyway, and occasionally they have done specific deliveries for really big items. They have been amazing.


Do the transport team know they are invaluable to the system?

I hope so!  When we do any comms pieces about them they always get a mention (and we sent them biscuits over at Christmas!!)  I want to highlight that it’s these guys that are actually allowing the system to function.


Did you have to get any other departments on board from day one?

We took advice from health and safety on staff moving furniture etc and also procurement were involved in the beginning and continue to encourage staff to use Warp It before ordering.


Do you have any final advice for our readers?

Good promotion of the system, use your Comms teams well and if you are lucky enough to have the staff we have in Highland then Warp It will work perfectly.  We are also looking to do something with the number of trees saved via the system, which will hopefully highlight the difference this system is making not only in terms of financial savings but also carbon savings to.

Thanks for being so generous with your time Ruth!

If you are reading this and want to know more about reuse in large organisations why not join one of our web shows?

 (You can see NHS Highland current savings here.)

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Daniel O'Connor

Daniel O'Connor

I use my time and experience to contribute to the transition to a regenerative sustainable society for all.


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