Bury surgery makes light work of cutting carbon

Victoria Surgery has had solar panels installed ANL-151008-151237009
Victoria Surgery has had solar panels installed ANL-151008-151237009
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A doctors surgery, thought to be one of the first in East Anglia to fit solar power, has urged other health service facilities and businesses to do it.

Victoria Surgery in Bury St Edmunds fitted solar panels about a year ago and partner Dr Simon Lovegrove says it has saved thousands of pounds.

He added: “Because we rely on computer systems to help deliver our care, the NHS uses quite a lot of energy.

“This came on the back of a Carbon Trust survey of the practice which reckoned we were emitting 50 tonnes of carbon a year, which is typical for a surgery this size.

“We thought we would look at solar technology to bring down our carbon emissions and reduce costs.

“We haven’t had any issues at all – they’ve just silently beavered away up there.”

He said they were concerned about the risk light reflected by the panels causing problems for neighbours but were assured it would not, which has proved to be the case. Solar panels absorb light, so do not reflect it like a glass panel might.

The panels produce about 9,128Kwh a year and are expected to pay for themselves in seven years, with a working life of at least 20 years.

Future plans include the possibility of replacing the surgery’s dispensing delivery van with an electric one if prices make it viable.

On a more mundane note, the surgery is recycling all its waste paper and looking at installing bicycle racks for staff and patients fit enough to cycle in.

The surgery is also pushing the West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group’s unused medicines campaign, launched in July, to save money by urging patients not to get repeat prescriptions for drugs they no longer need.

Dr Lovegrove said: “Sometimes when you go on house calls you find people with a cupboard full of medicines they don’t use. I don’t really know why they do it.”

It is thought to cost the NHS in England £300 million a year.