A student veterinary nurse at a leading animal hospital in Wiltshire has used her sewing passion to spark an environmentally friendly initiative set to reduce the use of disposable scrub hats.

Anne Berndt, who is known by her colleagues to be a keen seamstress, recently sewed 30 branded, reusable surgical hats, when colleague Lucia Oliveira approached her with the idea.

Anne and Lucia form an integral part of the ‘green team’ at Swindon-based Eastcott Veterinary Referrals, which is part of Linnaeus.

The initiative, introduced in August, has been embraced by the surgical staff at Eastcott and has already resulted in an almost complete elimination of disposable surgical hats being used at the hospital.

Commenting on the initiative, Anne said: “I have been sewing for some time now and love that my hobby has been put to good use and towards a worthy green cause.

“Fabric surgical hats tend to work better than disposable ones as they don’t slip off as easily. They also meet all the necessary requirements to maintain Eastcott’s gold standard in infection control, so the initiative seemed like a great idea. We are so pleased that this surgical attire has been positively embraced by our staff.”

Veterinary nurse Lucia Oliveira added: “The green team at Eastcott are a dedicated bunch and have been very enthusiastically working towards achieving the bronze accreditation from Investors in the Environment.

“In addition to the fantastic work that Anne does for the animals at our hospital, she has sewn some very beautiful items for us including face masks at the onset of the pandemic, pouches and even curtains for the cattery.

“I approached Anne with the idea of introducing cloth scrub hats and she was on board straight away. We brought the idea to our management team who were very supportive and quickly gave us the money and resources including fabric that we needed to put the plan into action.”

Once worn, the items are washed and sanitised together with the staff’s regular scrubs before being returned to the shelves for use again.

Eastcott’s green team has been making strides to improve the hospitals green footprint in recent months. In May this year, they embarked on a biodiversity project which saw them spruce up the hospital’s garden premises and even open an insect hotel.

In addition, the team has introduced more recycling points around the hospital and are encouraging staff to be smarter about the use of paper. All electronic items around Eastcott have also been set to stand-by mode and they are further looking to introduce sustainable period products all around the premises in due course.

For more information about Eastcott Referrals visit www.eastcottreferrals.co.uk or search for Eastcott Veterinary Referrals on social media.

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