SSE to invest over £100m in sustainable Glasgow vision

SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy) has said that it is aiming to help Glasgow achieve its goal of be

The company has worked with Glasgow City Council and the University of Strathclyde over the past twelve months to help deliver Glasgow's Energy Master plan, which aimed at identifying how the city can contribute to tackling climate change by delivering major carbon emission reductions.

As a result of this research, SSE has produced a low carbon technology city plan identifying the most suitable locations for low carbon technology solutions. Through studies specifically on the Renewables and Energy Management Reports, SSE reveals a number of UK projects.

The projects include the potential creation of a biogas network within the city, using its own waste streams as a fuel, which will help Glasgow achieve its sustainable ambitions.

This is expected to bring considerable benefits to the wider economy through new business opportunities and potential for hundreds of jobs within Glasgow. SSE already employs over one thousand people in Greater Glasgow in a range of energy sector roles.

The company also revealed the launch of an energy tariff, which will be available later this year. This product will reward and financially incentivise Glaswegians who reduce their own home's energy usage, and help them take action in their management of household energy use by offering them help and advice on how to reduce consumption.

SSE plans to regenerate communities in Glasgow through its not for profit Scottish Hydro Community Interest Company, set up specifically to focus directly on carbon reduction and other sustainable energy projects in the city.

These include energy efficiency, fuel poverty programmes, community volunteering and charitable work. Revenue generated from the new sustainable tariff, when launched, will be added to SSE's GBP15m CESP and CERT investment already earmarked for future sustainable projects, prioritising the low income and vulnerable homes.

Jim McPhillimy, group services director of SSE, said: "SSE is proud to be part of Glasgow's visionary transformation into one of Europe's most sustainable cities. We want to help make sure Glasgow's sustainability credentials are fully recognised at a national and international level and we are well placed to partner Glasgow City Council in realising that ambition."

He added: "Our purpose is to provide the energy people need in a reliable and sustainable way, and our core values include sustainability - a value we share with Glasgow. We look forward to being part of this exciting future for the city because we believe 'Sustainable Glasgow' will bring real environmental, economic and social benefits within a very short period of time. We are delighted to play a full part in helping realise this ambition."


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Want to know how you really behave as a doctor? Watch yourself on video

There is nothing quite like watching oneself at work to spur development – and videos can help us understand patients, too.

One of the most useful tools I have as a GP trainer is my video camera. Periodically, and always with patients’ permission, I place it in the corner of my registrar’s room. We then look through their consultations together during a tutorial.

There is nothing quite like watching oneself at work to spur development. One of my trainees – a lovely guy called Nick – was appalled to find that he wheeled his chair closer and closer to the patient as he narrowed down the diagnosis with a series of questions. It was entirely unconscious, but somewhat intimidating, and he never repeated it once he’d seen the recording. Whether it’s spending half the consultation staring at the computer screen, or slipping into baffling technospeak, or parroting “OK” after every comment a patient makes, we all have unhelpful mannerisms of which we are blithely unaware.

Videos are a great way of understanding how patients communicate, too. Another registrar, Anthony, had spent several years as a rheumatologist before switching to general practice, so when consulted by Yvette he felt on familiar ground. She began by saying she thought she had carpal tunnel syndrome. Anthony confirmed the diagnosis with some clinical tests, then went on to establish the impact it was having on Yvette’s life. Her sleep was disturbed every night, and she was no longer able to pick up and carry her young children. Her desperation for a swift cure came across loud and clear.

The consultation then ran into difficulty. There are three things that can help CTS: wrist splints, steroid injections and surgery to release the nerve. Splints are usually the preferred first option because they carry no risk of complications, and are inexpensive to the NHS. We watched as Anthony tried to explain this. Yvette kept raising objections, and even though Anthony did his best to address her concerns, it was clear she remained unconvinced.

The problem for Anthony, as for many doctors, is that much medical training still reflects an era when patients relied heavily on professionals for health information. Today, most will have consulted with Dr Google before presenting to their GP. Sometimes this will have stoked unfounded fears – pretty much any symptom just might be an indication of cancer – and our task then is to put things in proper context. But frequently, as with Yvette, patients have not only worked out what is wrong, they also have firm ideas what to do about it.

We played the video through again, and I highlighted the numerous subtle cues that Yvette had offered. Like many patients, she was reticent about stating outright what she wanted, but the information was there in what she did and didn’t say, and in how she responded to Anthony’s suggestions. By the time we’d finished analysing their exchanges, Anthony could see that Yvette had already decided against splints as being too cumbersome and taking too long to work. For her, a steroid injection was the quickest and surest way to obtain relief.

Competing considerations must be weighed in any “shared” decision between a doctor and patient. Autonomy – the ability for a patient to determine their own care – is of prime importance, but it isn’t unrestricted. The balance between doing good and doing harm, of which doctors sometimes have a far clearer appreciation, has to be factored in. Then there are questions of equity and fairness: within a finite NHS budget, doctors have a duty to prioritise the most cost-effective treatments. For the NHS and for Yvette, going straight for surgery wouldn’t have been right – nor did she want it – but a steroid injection is both low-cost and low-risk, and Anthony could see he’d missed the chance to maximise her autonomy.

The lessons he learned from the video had a powerful impact on him, and from that day on he became much more adept at achieving truly shared decisions with his patients.

This article first appeared in the 01 October 2015 issue of the New Statesman, The Tory tide