On 28 September, the AHSN Network Environmental Sustainability Community of Interest hosted the second in a series of sharing and learning events, aiming to share best practice innovations and initiatives to support the delivery of a Net Zero NHS.
The online event attracted hundreds of bookings and 135 delegates attended live to find out more about the carbon impact of anaesthetic gases.
Anaesthetists, sustainability leads, midwives, pharmacy and medicines specialists and others interested in sustainability came together to listen and ask questions about the exciting innovations and research that is being done to limit emissions from anaesthetic gases.
Key speakers included Kathy Scott, Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Executive at Yorkshire & Humber AHSN who chaired the event and said: “AHSNs support the NHS to deliver its Net Zero commitments through identifying new products, technologies and ways of working to support this agenda. To do this, we have developed our AHSN Network Environmental Sustainability Strategy.
“The strategy has four parts; reducing our carbon footprint and environmental impact, encouraging innovators to ‘think green’ and looking at their supply chain, supporting adoption of innovations with a positive impact and spreading of good practice and brokering relationships from across other sectors into the NHS and vice versa.
“We hope that this will help us to deliver our ambitions, and we want to build a movement by sharing best practice across the AHSN Network and the NHS. This event is the practice of that movement. We want to work with innovators on products, services and practices that reduce the environmental harm caused by delivering healthcare.
Dr Tom Pierce, Environmental Advisor to the President of the Royal College of Anaesthetists and Cardiac Anaesthetist at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, shared his experiences and spoke about the small changes that can be made to make a big impact on reducing carbon emissions. Dr Pierce stated that all healthcare systems and departments have a responsibility to reduce emissions. He talked about how reducing desflurane use was straightforward, and there was little resistance at his trust. His advice was to practice greener anaesthesia by avoiding desflurane.
Joy Hirst and Rajit Khosla, anaesthetists from East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust presented their review of anaesthetic practices and use at the Trust and changes which resulted in a large carbon and cost impact – including an 84% reduction in emissions from anaesthetic gas usage and a cost saving of £100,390 in 12 months.
James Hyde Net Zero Policy and Delivery Manager at NHS England and NHS Improvement, who is working in the Greener NHS team, spoke about the current policy context around sustainable anaesthetic gases starting from the Climate Change Act in 2008 through to the NHS plan for Delivering a Net Zero NHS. He presented the overall carbon footprint of the NHS and reiterated the urgency of taking action in this area of reducing emissions from anaesthetic gases.
Jonas Lundh, CEO of Medclair, a Swedish company specialising in creating climate-smart Nitrous Oxide solutions for the healthcare industry, discussed their innovative approach to capturing Nitrous Oxide in maternity wards. They presented a case study of a mother who gave birth at Newcastle Royal Victoria Infirmary; the first hospital in the UK to utilise their technology which breaks down the exhaled Nitrous Oxide into harmless Nitrogen and Oxygen.
Matthew Gopal, Head of Clinical Engagement at SageTech Medical, presented their innovative work to capture anaesthetic gases used in operating theatres, with the aim of extracting and reusing them.
The event ended with a very successful Q&A session, led by Kathy Scott, where delegates discussed the topic and shared useful resources.
These sustainability sharing and learning events will be held quarterly, and the next event is expected to take place in January on the topic of asthma inhalers.
If you work in the NHS and would like to access a recording of this event, please contact email@example.com.
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