The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


Water bottles launch in the radiotherapy department

25 June 2019

Patients in the radiotherapy department are helping Leeds Teaching Hospitals to be more sustainable, by using reusable water bottles instead of disposable plastic cups.

Cancer patients who are undergoing pelvic radiotherapy are required to drink three cups of water before their treatment. The cups used are made from disposable plastic and once they’ve been drank from, are thrown away in a nearby bin.

Dave Rigby, a patient in the department explains how watching patients do this inspired the water bottle idea: “At the start of my treatment programme, I was sitting near a water dispenser, waiting to consume my three cupsful, prior to radiotherapy treatment.

“I started thinking about the number of plastic cups being used up in this way and the resulting waste problems. So the idea of encouraging the use of reusable water bottles seemed like a good way forward.

“It provides an additional advantage of not having to stay near a water dispenser but having the freedom to move around the unit, visit the café, or get some fresh air in one of the garden areas. I'm really pleased that the Unit has taken the idea forward and will be supplying reusable water bottles to pelvic radiotherapy patients.” 

The bottles are now available from the radiotherapy reception desk, and, as well as being made from sustainable materials, they are the exact size for the amount of water needing to be drank by patients prior to treatment.

1,500 bottles have been funded by Leeds Cares, and patients are invited to make a donation towards the cost. All funds raised will go back to Leeds Cares, the charity partner of Leeds Teaching Hospitals, to fund bottles for future radiotherapy patients in the department.  

Kelly Picken, Advanced Practitioner in Radiotherapy said: “Thanks to Dave’s suggestion, and with a little support from Leeds Cares, we’ve been able to make a significant reduction in the plastic we use. These bottles remove the uncertainty for patients in filling three cups of water to a certain level, which is now one nice easy full bottle, no more struggling to carry the cups at once or problems for patients with mobility issues accessing the water fountains multiple times.”
Radiotherapy water bottle launch SJ5 9686

Pictured celebrating the launch of the bottles is Paul, a pelvic radiotherapy patient and some of the team in the department