Great Ormond Street Hospital takes cycling gold

Dr Finella Craig of Great Ormond Street Hospital. Photo: Michael Heath
Woman cyclist on her bike
Woman cyclist on her bike

Great Ormond Street Hospital takes cycling gold

Great Ormond Street children's hospital is the first British hospital to become a gold-standard Cycle Friendly Employer

Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust (GOSH) has become the first hospital in the UK to be awarded gold by Cycling UK’s Cycle Friendly Employer Accreditation Scheme.

The accreditation ranks the efforts of employers to make their business more cycle-friendly. The gold award for GOSH recognises the hospital’s work to foster a culture of sustainable travel among its 5,000 employees.

This has been especially important during the pandemic, with many employees choosing to cycle rather than take public transport. Staff have collectively ridden more than 30,000 miles in 2020 – longer than it would take to ride around the world.

Dr Finella Craig, a consultant in the Palliative Care team, has recently returned to cycling and rides an average of 120 miles per month to deliver palliative care to her patients.

“I have been able to cycle to all my home visits and have even been joined by my registrar on a bike,” said Dr Craig. “We saw all our patients on time, spent less time travelling, didn’t have to sit in traffic, got exercise and saved the hospital money. It also means we have avoided public transport and spent a lot more time outdoors.”

Mark Hayden, paediatric cardiac intensivist at GOSH, is passionate about the benefits of making the hospital more cycle-friendly. He said:

“We are not caring for children if we do not protect the environment and try to minimise the detrimental impacts that climate change will have on children’s health around the world. The physical and mental wellbeing benefits which spring from cycling are well known, but we need to see marked improvements in the local air quality which is a significant public health risk.”  

GOSH has ensured that there are nearly 300 secure places to lock bikes at the hospital. Free bike maintenance for staff was provided, as well as towels for staff who shower at work, and a free trial of an e-bike service was also available.

The hospital is also actively engaging with Transport for London and Camden Council to seek better and safer cycling routes. Improved air quality around the hospital will also benefit patients and families.

Nick Martin, head of sustainability at GOSH, said: “Supporting our staff and visitors to make greener transport choices when they come to the hospital is a key part of our three-year Green Plan and wider hospital strategy. We’re pleased our efforts have been recognised but know there’s much more we can do to get more staff travelling actively, including cycling. Together we aim to reduce emissions and create a better environment around our hospital and beyond.”

The Cycle Friendly Employer Scheme is the only international standard for workplace cycling and recognises how commuting by bike has many proven benefits for both employees and their employers. In the UK, national charity Cycling UK is the provider of the scheme.

Cycling UK’s Cycling Friendly Employer Accreditation manager, James Palser, said:

“When we received Great Ormond Street Hospital’s submission to become a Cycle Friendly Employer we were impressed by what they are doing to make cycling easier for their employees – not just the big ticket items like secure parking, but also the little things like providing clean towels and helping staff find safe routes from their home to work.

“Here we have an internationally respected healthcare centre of excellence that wants to see more people cycling those short distances to work. Cycling UK hopes other employers take note and follow in GOSH’s footsteps. More importantly, we hope councils will take this as a sign of support to build more cycle lanes, that they are good for business and public health in general.”

The Cycle Friendly Employer Scheme (CFE-UK) is part of the EU Bike2Work project and helps more people cycle to work by ensuring their employers are providing a good environment for them to cycle. Organisations can achieve Bronze, Silver or Gold accreditation within the scheme.

ENDS

Contact information 

For more information, please contact the national Cycling UK press office. Due to the restrictions caused by the coronavirus outbreak, currently the main press office number (01483 238 315) is not being monitored. If you would like to speak to a member of the press office during working hours (0900 - 1700) and out of hours, call 07786 320 713

Notes to editors 
  1. Cycling UK, the national cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone. www.cyclinguk.org
  2. Founded in 1852, Great Ormond Street Hospital is one of the world’s leading children’s hospitals with the broadest range of dedicated, children’s healthcare specialists under one roof in the UK. With more than 252,000 outpatient and 43,000 inpatient visits every year, the hospital’s pioneering research and treatment gives hope to children from across the UK with the rarest, most complex and often life-threatening conditions. As an international centre of excellence in child healthcare, our patients and families are central to everything we do – from the moment they come through the door and for as long as they need us. Visit www.gosh.nhs.uk
  3. On 16 December, there was the first ruling by the Coroner of air pollution as a cause of the death: nine-year-old, Ella Kissi-Debrah died because of acute respiratory failure in 2013. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-55330945
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