The evidence base was an important aspect of the 2015 NHS Forest conference. NHS Forest coordinator Sarah Dandy started the day with a presentation detailing the many benefits of green space on healthcare sites, including accelerated patient recovery, improved air quality and reduced costs through disease prevention.

Carl Petrokofsky, specialist in public health at Public Health England, gave us a detailed insight into the benefits to health from using green space, the need for more trees to stop hospitals overheating and the importance of exercising in green space.

Georgina Smith from Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust outlined the variety of work taking place at their NHS Forest sites, including green gym activities, school children engaging in orchard planting and cooking apples, and opportunities for the local community to learn horticultural skills.

The day finished with a workshop in which participants designed an NHS Forest site. Ideas included a bee garden, orchards, river walks and the chance to learn horticultural skills. Participants highlighted the practicalities of running a health walk as well as the importance of involving different stakeholder groups and the many cultural and behaviour changes that need to take place to engage people in green space.


NHS Forest Awards:

This year’s winners were:

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