Dr. Cliff SHELTON
Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust
Cliff Shelton is clinical lead for sustainability for the Wythenshawe Hospital Department of Anaesthesia, and a co-opted member of the Association of Anaesthetists Environment and Sustainability Committee. His recent sustainability work include the evaluation of catalytic nitrous oxide destruction ('cracking') technology on the labour ward, and “Greener Operations”, a James Lind Alliance research priority setting partnership on sustainable peri-operative practice. His clinical interests include anaesthesia for hip fracture surgery, obstetrics and emergencies. He is Executive Editor of Anaesthesia Reports.
The effects of the climate crisis on health and society pose one of the greatest challenges faced by healthcare. Any yet, healthcare is thought to account for around 5% of the global carbon footprint. This puts healthcare providers in a difficult position - how to offer patients the best care, whilst minimising their impacts on the environment?
As a case study for sustainable healthcare, anaesthesia sits in a critical position. A specialty situated primarily in the operating theatre, anaesthesia is highly resource intensive in terms of energy, equipment, pharmaceuticals and staffing. Furthermore, all commonly-used inhalational anaesthetic agents are greenhouse gases - so anaesthesia often contributes directly to the climate crisis.
There are several high-impact measures that anaesthesia providers can take - today - to practice more sustainably whilst maintaining high-quality patient care, but the evidence base for sustainable healthcare remains incomplete. As such, there is a pressing need for more research into how to make anaesthesia 'greener'.
In this presentation I will present ten things that anaesthesia providers can do to make their practice more sustainable, and - based on the recent 'Greener Operations' James Lind Alliance priority setting partnership - ten research priorities agreed by patients, members of the public, and healthcare professionals.