The annual usage of anaesthetic gases at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust: the environmental impact and potential solutions (2020)

Type of publication:
Conference abstract

*Thompson T.; *Passey S.; *Mowatt C.

British Journal of Surgery; 2020; vol. 107 ; p. 74-75

Aims: The NHS is responsible for 5.5% of the UK's net emissions, with anaesthetic gases comprising of 5% of hospital emissions. Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals (SaTH) are DGH's with 18 combined theatres, 9 at each site. The aim of this study was to evaluate the environmental impact of anaesthetic gases used by the trust and suggest possible improvements.
Method(s): Figures from October 2018-2019 supplied by the hospital pharmacy and compared using the RCoA Anaesthetic Impact Calculator. Costs obtained from pharmacy relating to the available anaesthetic gases and drugs.
Result(s): Over the past year SaTH has emitted the equivalent of 4,819,050kg of CO2 through its anaesthetic gases alone (these gases being sevoflurane, isoflurane, desflurane and nitrous oxide). Of these gases, sevoflurane is the greenest, while nitrous oxide is the worst offender. To give this an idea of scale, to offset, this would require the planting of 10915 trees, which would take up an area of 4-10 hectares of land.
Conclusion(s): We are recommending that SaTH stops using Nitrous oxide and Isoflurane, which is currently under consideration by the consultant body. We would discourage the use of desflurane, and where possible sevoflurane. Encourage the use of total intravenous anaesthetic (TIVA). We postulate this would save the trust aminimum of 5000 per year or 15000 per year with a 10% reduction in sevoflurane use. This would reduce our CO2 equivalent production by over 4.6 million kg.

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