Within medicine, and in particular anaesthesia, it can often feel that change and shifts in professional practice take considerable time to come about. However, there is one area where we cannot afford to delay change – the climate emergency which faces us.
As a society, we stand in solidarity with the international paediatric societies’ declaration on responding to the impact of climate change on children. We believe that it is our responsibility to advocate for children’s health and wellbeing; this mandates ensuring the world in which they develop is as conducive to that as possible. Climate change threatens children’s development in many different ways – from natural disasters and extreme weather affecting habitat and agriculture, to competition for usable land and conflict for it, to exploitation of natural resources leading to reduced air quality and increase in childhood disease.
We commit to continued efforts to improve the sustainability of paediatric anaesthesia across the United Kingdom and Ireland. To this end, we advocate for and work towards local and national policy which uses evidence to reduce the carbon footprint within our practice. We will offer support in a structured manner to advance changes in practice which bring this about, and we will welcome opportunities from our professional community to assist where we can.
- Piped nitrous oxide waste reduction strategy – an approach written up by NHS East Lothian to be adopted by any acute Trust looking to reduce nitrous oxide waste. Includes audit sheet and contact details for the Nitrous oxide project: https://anaesthetists.org/Portals/0/PDFs/Environment/Nitrous waste methodology.pdf
- Theatre shutdown checklist – theatres and anaesthetic rooms are some of the most energy-utilising areas of the hospital. Switching off overnight during periods of no activity has huge carbon and money-saving implications for Trusts: https://www.ghasp.org.uk/theatre-shutdown-checklist
- Anaesthetic impact calculators – apps for smart phones: Propofol dreams app: https://propofoldreamsapp.wordpress.com/
- this helps anaesthetists calculate propofol requirements for TIVA and reduce wastage
- The anaesthetic impact calculator: https://rcoa.ac.uk/about-college/strategy-vision/environment-sustainability/anaesthetic-impact-calculator
- this app allows clinicians to calculate and compare the CO2e impact of inhalational anaeshtetic and carrier gases
- Green my pension: for members with private pensions (NB: this is not relevant for the NHS pension, as this is an unfunded scheme). https://makemymoneymatter.co.uk/
- This initiative aims to encourage individuals and organisations to redirect their pensions investments into sustainable businesses who are committed to tackling the climate emergency. For the average pension-holder, £2 in every £10 is linked to environmental devastation around the world. This website allows individuals to make a big impact by signing a letter to their pension provider.