BAPRAS Goes Green

In 2009, the Lancet Climate Change Commission declared climate change as ‘the biggest global health threat of the century’. 

The healthcare sector is one of the biggest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions, with the NHS accounting for 4.6% of the UK’s total carbon footprint and approximately 25% of the public sector’s footprint.

Operating theatres, in particular, have a disproportionate environmental impact because of their energy-intensive processes, consumption of resources, use of volatile anaesthetic agents and production of waste. They are estimated to be three to six times more energy intensive than clinical wards and tend to produce approximately 50–70% of the total hospital waste.

The NHS, supported by the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, has pledged to meet a ‘net zero’ carbon target by 2045 through its Greener NHS campaign.

Efforts to improve the environmental sustainability of the operating theatre, which in most cases also offers potential short and long-term cost savings.

The RCS has put together a document that makes practical recommendations for surgeons and members of the surgical teams in the area of sustainability.
The aim of the document is to support improvements in surgical care through small, sustainable practices that maintain patient care and support environmental health.

Click here to view the RCS Sustainability in Surgery Resources

Further resources: