Ninewells Hospital is part of NHS Tayside, Scotland and is one of the largest teaching hospitals in Europe. It joined the NHS Forest in 2012.
The focus at Ninewells hospital has been to improve access and use of the 26 hectare of greenspace on site. A Steering Group was set up in 2009 to include the Forestry Commission, NHS Tayside, Dundee City Council and the Maggie Centre to create a Woodland Improvement plan. Access improvements detailed in this document are; increasing the number of markings and information about the woodland, carrying out remedial work and installing regular seating.
There has been lots of interaction with the staff, patients and the local community at Ninewells including trained health walks and involvement of Occupational Therapists who have carried out ecological surveys with the patients and other conservation activities.
Further plans at Ninewells include the introduction of environmental art to the woodland such as sculptures and creating a sheltered garden room that staff can use for activities such as Tai Chi and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. There are also plans to create cycle pathways through the site and encourage patients to use the site as part of their “green prescription”.
200 trees have been planted at this site including 50 large diameter specimen trees.
The project was officially opened on 30th August 2012 in the afternoon by Nicola Sturgeon, then Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing. At Ninewells, Ms Sturgeon followed one of the newly-designed walking paths to the Arboretum. She planted a tree to mark the launch of the project which aims to encourage staff, patients and members of the public to access the gardens and woodland areas around the hospital.
The Cabinet Secretary ended her visit with a guided tour of the new paths, seating, information points, walking routes and therapeutic garden area which make up the Ninewells project. During the tour she was introduced to staff, patients, volunteers and visitors, including occupational therapy staff and inpatients from Carseview Centre who are involved in the Ninewells community garden. She also met children from the local nursery on the Ninewells site who showed off their recycling skills and made paper pots for the garden.
The hospital took part in planting the NHS Forest’s campaign to plant two trees at 2pm on NHS Sustainability Day in 2014 and in 2015. In 2015, head of environmental management Philip Wilde and members of the ground maintenance team planted the two trees at the entrance of the hospital. They were among ten trees planted at Ninewells and 100 trees planted across NHS Tayside sites in March 2015 as part of the NHS grounds sustainability programme.