How we supported Clean Air Day 2019:
To support Clean Air Day, the Association called on its members and anaesthesia teams to take action within their own hospitals and support this initiative to inspire change to make the air cleaner and healthier for everyone.
Chair of the Association of Anaesthetists’ Environment and Sustainability Committee Dr Samantha Shinde said: “We see the impact of air pollution on patients today – but are also thinking about how our practice and the use of anaesthetic gases and vapours may impact on future generations by contributing to climate change. Improving our air quality, whether it is by altering our clinical practice or by changing the way we live our lives at home offers health benefits to everyone.”
"Improving our air quality, whether it is by altering our clinical practice or by changing the way we live our lives at home offers health benefits to everyone." - Dr Samantha Shinde
We also marked the day by highlighting the many positive developments in the last year.
- The NHS Long Term Plan commits to 2% of the NHS carbon footprint reduction to be delivered via the transformation of anaesthetic practice. We’re working closely with the Sustainable Development Unit to advise on ways to implement this reduction.
- In May, we held a successful environmental stakeholders meeting at the Association, bringing together people from various different sectors with an interest in sustainability, who can help influence change.
- We have appointed the first ever fellow in environmentally sustainable anaesthesia, Dr Cathy Lawson. The fellowship is supported by the Association of Anaesthetists, Centre for Sustainable Healthcare and Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals.
- We are developing a network of Green Champions and a library of case studies to ensure that key sustainability messages are widely available to all anaesthetists in the UK, Ireland and beyond to help everyone embed sustainable practices within their departments.
Environment Fellow Dr Lawson said: “This is a very exciting time. We have such great opportunities to make a real positive difference to climate change and sustainability within our specialty, and the outputs from this Fellowship will help us to get there. Developing initiatives in collaboration with the Association of Anaesthetists, Royal College of Anaesthetists, College of Anaesthesiologists of Ireland and Centre for Sustainable Healthcare and other stakeholders will enable us to share and promote sustainable practices”.
"We have such great opportunities to make a real positive difference to climate change and sustainability within our specialty." - Dr Cathy Lawson
Find out more:
1. Clean Air Day Campaign
2. Sustainable Development Unit. Carbon Hotspots
3. Sherman J, Le C, Lamers V, Eckelman M. Life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of anaesthetic drugs. Anesth analg 2012; 114(5):1086-90.
4. NHS long term plan
What we did to celebrate Clean Air Day 2018:
To celebrate Clean Air Day 2018 the Association announced our first ever fellowship in environmentally sustainable anaesthesia: a collaboration between the Association of Anaesthetists, the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare, and Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals. The aims of this fellowship are to improve the evidence-base underpinning environmentally sustainable anaesthesia, establish what best practice looks like, define and remove barriers to best practice implementation, and to share the findings with the wider anaesthetic and medical communities.
Read our statement in support of Clean Air Day 2017:
Through our environmental policy and environmental task force, the Association of Anaesthetists recognises that our actions have an impact on the environment around us and that this can affect people’s health and wellbeing – now and in the future. That’s why we are supporting the UK’s first-ever National Clean Air Day (NCAD) on 15 June 2017. Anaesthetists see the impact of air pollution on patients today – but are also thinking about how anaesthetic gases may impact on future generations by contributing to climate change.
It has been calculated that the worldwide annual environmental impact of inhalational anaesthetic agents is equivalent to the climate warming effects produced by one coal-fired power station or 1 million passenger cars, at 4.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. We are, therefore, committed to exploring the use of inhalational anaesthetic agents which are less polluting, wherever it is safe to do so, and to encouraging clinical practice which produces less waste.
The Association backs National Clean Air Day because it presents an opportunity for the UK to come together and improve air quality through collective action. To mark the day the Association is calling on its 11,000 members, as clinicians and as citizens, to take action and find out what their local NHS trusts are doing to support National Clean Air Day. Our own environmental task force, who lead the specialty on environmental matters and green anaesthesia, will also be looking to make a difference this National Clean Air Day.
On National Clean Air Day, Dr Samantha Shinde, Lead for the Association's environmental task group, will be leaving her car behind anda will walk to work. As a Consultant Anaesthetist at North Bristol NHS Trust, she will reduce her impact on the environment by using low–flow anaesthesia, regional or intravenous anaesthesia, all of which reduce pollution. Her Trust will also be supporting National Clean Air Day by:
Launching a ‘switch off when you drop off’ campaign aimed at taxis, buses and ambulances, and visitors.
Promoting their 12 electric, folding and standard bikes, which staff can borrow to try out for commuting and then purchase on the cycle to work scheme.
Making an extra effort to encourage smokers outside the building (in the no-smoking area), to extinguish their cigarettes.
Hosting stalls in the atrium of the hospital to raise awareness of different clean air and the health co-benefits of more sustainable living.