An Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust consultant has received a prestigious honour for his work on policy development in the area of sustainable healthcare.

Dr Daniel Maughan is the medical lead for Oxford Healthcare Improvement and a consultant psychiatrist for the early intervention service for Oxfordshire.

His work in designing policy to think sustainably, environmentally and ethically has been recognised with a President’s Medal from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Mental healthcare needs to become more sustainable to continue to meet the needs of patients in coming years, according to Dr Maughan.

He explains: “The NHS is a brilliant and essential service and it’s there for anyone who needs it. You can’t overstate the positive outcomes that it delivers for so many people.

“But we also need to look very closely at how it can become more environmentally sustainable. Because it is such a large organisation its carbon footprint is also very large indeed – but there is great enthusiasm for tackling this and some very good work has already been done.

“When you think of carbon you probably think of energy but that only accounts for around 15 to 20 percent. Travel is another factor but, surprisingly, the single largest contributor is medication and its manufacture.

“Healthcare worldwide has a bigger carbon footprint than aviation.”

Dr Maughan has been involved with the college since 2013 and developed the concept of sustainable mental health care before being appointed in a newly created post as the associate registrar for sustainability at the college.

He explains: “With the official commission I set up a committee and a national programme of work. This led to the current president having it as one of his 3 priorities when he was appointed in July this year.

“As a clinician we need to think about developing environmentally responsible methods of care. COVID means we lost some travel miles but the amount of waste at the moment is incredible if you think about all the masks and plastics.

“You could argue that this is essential, but there are some areas where we can be much more innovative.

“I am very keen that all professionals think about sustainability and don’t just think about paper and recycling – think about the value of everything you do and the principles of sustainable healthcare which are prevent, empower, reduce waste, consider carbon.

“What this means is that we should design care so that it prioritises the most effective and least wasteful possibilities first.

“There’s some great work being done at Oxford Health by our estates manager John Upham and the Chairman, David Walker, who chairs the sustainability committee.”

Rob Bale, Clinical Director and Consultant at Oxford Health, said: “It is fantastic  to see that the work done by Daniel is being recognised on a national level and is well deserved

“Oxford Health strives to provide excellent care and also to be innovative in how it does this. It can only do this thanks to the efforts and vision of people like Daniel.”