Water bottles for patients help Clatterbridge go greener

Posted 1st December 2022

Clatterbridge staff holding the water bottles

Clatterbridge is helping to reduce waste and go greener with the introduction of re-useable water bottles for radiotherapy patients.

The drinking bottles – with distinctive branding – will replace the thousands of plastic cups used each year by these patients who need to take in liquid before treatment.

The machine-washable bottles are being used by all patients in the department at Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Liverpool from today (Thursday, December 1st) after being funded by the Bright Ideas Scheme in line with the Trust’s Green Plan.

In the Radiotherapy department, many patients treated for pelvic tumours need to drink a specific amount of water before treatment.

Previously, this was measured in ‘cups’, relating to disposable plastic cups available by water dispensers.

Now, more precise measurements can be done with levels printed on reusable water bottles, which is expected to lead to better patient hydration and fewer side-effects – as well as being kinder to the environment.

In the five years up to 2018, more than 600 million disposable plastic cups were used by the NHS, and The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre is now doing its bit to tackle this. A similar scheme at London’s Royal Marsden Hospital last year halved the use of plastic cups and was met with positive feedback from patients.

Therapeutic radiographer Kate Shrewsbury-Gee submitted the initiative to the Bright Ideas scheme, which helps to progress innovations from staff, with funding from Clatterbridge Cancer Charity. Fifty bottles have been bought, which washed in the department rather than for patients to take home.

Kate said: “Staff had been discussing how we can become greener as a department and this seemed to be a simple but effective way to reduce waste and also hopefully see a clinical benefit.

“The bottles look really nice and have clear markings so that patients know exactly how much water they are taking in.

“We will be monitoring how they are used by patients, but we are confident this will be better for them – and the environment.”

If the water bottles prove to be of benefit to patients and the Trust, their use can be expanded across all three radiotherapy sites, resulting in an even greener Clatterbridge Cancer Centre.

Innovation Manager Drew Norwood-Green said: “The Bright Ideas Panel was delighted when Kate brought this initiative to us. It fits in with the ethos of the Trust’s Green Plan and helps patients to monitor their water intake, too.

More than 130 Bright Ideas have been submitted by staff since the initiative was launched in September 2021, with many now implemented across the Trust.

Pictured with the water bottles, left to right, is Jen Cadwallader (Radiotherapy Advanced Practitioner), Kamal Allen (Senior Therapeutic Radiographer), Kate Shrewsbury-Gee (Therapeutic Radiographer). Absent is Michelle Forshaw (Radiotherapy Treatment Advanced Practitioner), the other member of the project team.