On the 4th day of Christmas - Greener Care

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A greener NHS and Social Care

Climate change poses a major threat to our health as well as our planet. The environment is changing, that change is accelerating, and this has direct and immediate consequences for our patients, the public and the NHS.

Across the NHS, anaesthetic gases are commonly used as a part of everyday surgeries. These gases alone, are responsible for over 2% of all NHS emissions. Amongst anaesthetic gases, desflurane is one of the most common, but also one of the most harmful. It has 60 times the environmental impact of other less harmful greenhouse gases and using a bottle has the same global warming effect as burning 440 kg of coal. The NHS Long Term Plan aims for a 51% reduction in the NHS carbon footprint by 2025,  with 2% of this to come through “transforming anaesthetic practices” such as using alternatives to desflurane and you can read about potential solutions here.

From sample collections for testing to patient record transfers and transporting medicines, the NHS relies on daily courier services to effectively carry out lifesaving work across the country. This operational necessity is often contracted externally, with transport and deliveries being carried out  by diesel van-based services – ultimately resulting in additional pollution, carbon emissions and congestion (with the NHS reportedly generating a total of 3.5% of all road travel in England which is equivalent to 9.5 billion miles). As part of its pioneering work to tackle the climate and health emergency, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation  Trust looked at reliable alternatives which could be used for short journeys, especially within the congested city centre.

Read about Rwarp - Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust upcycling portal

To support the  ‘For a greener NHS’ programme we have a page where all shares around this topic can be found, this page brings together a growing library of ideas and solutions to help you with your carbon footprint.  

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