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Gartnavel Goes Green to Boost Healthy Lifestyles

November 05, 2014 4:05 PM

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An innovative project at Gartnavel Royal Hospital is using greenspace and woodland to help patients’ recovery and improve the health of staff, visitors and the community.

The initiative is part of a Green Exercise Partnership between NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, the Forestry Commission Scotland, NHS Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage

The project has been so successful Alex Neil, Health Secretary, today, visited the site to officially open the new greenspace and see the work that already been undertaken on the campus.

There is increasing evidence that greater exposure to natural environments and greenspace can have a positive affect on both the physical and mental well being of people and the joint initiative is designed to encourage increased activity levels for both patients and staff.

Walking routes, including a new all abilities circular route, has been introduced around the hospital buildings with over 150 fruit and native trees planted to green up key rest areas.

A walled garden for growing food, seating areas, interpretation panels and landscaped greenspace has been created to attract more people to use the hospital’s natural surroundings.

Health Secretary Alex Neil said: ““These new surroundings will greatly compliment the first-class clinical care provided at this hospital. It is proven that access to the outdoors is greatly beneficial to our mental and physical wellbeing so the importance of these improvements should not be underestimated, and demonstrate the Scottish Government’s commitment to continually improving our health services.”

Kevin Lafferty, health advisor with Forestry Commission Scotland added: “Woodlands and greenspace could be seen as the natural health service.

“We know that green environments are healthy environments and this is a message that the Commission is eager to get across, no matter if you are in a rural or urban setting.

“The bonus with greening up hospitals is that patients, visitors, staff and the local community can all benefit from the new facilities.”

Using the natural environment for patient recovery is not a new concept for Gartnavel. Back in the 1870s the hospital was famous for its outside therapies and ‘tent treatments’, exercise yards and flower gardens which patients relaxed and recovered in.

Creating a better quality environment not only boosts healthcare but can have long lasting positive affects on the staff working there.

Andrew Robertson, NHSGGC Chairman, said: “I am delighted the Health Secretary was able to come and officially open the greenspace at Gartnavel by planting a birch tree which will provide colour and interest all year round.

“This initiative was developed to reflect the growing evidence that increased exposure to the natural environment and greenspace enhances the physical and mental wellbeing of patients, staff and visitors to the whole campus.

“Patients have spoken of how happy they are to be working outside and the benefits of participation in these activities, and volunteers have spoken about meeting and working with new people on a common goal.

“I am extremely proud of the hard work of everyone who has been involved in the project and how it has rejuvenated the site for the good for all who visit the hospital.”

For more information on greening hospitals project  

Notes to News Editors

Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government’s Environment & forestry Directorate .

For further information either telephone 0141 201 4429 or email [email protected]

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