Sustainability in the operating theatre
Climate change has been recognised as one of the biggest global health threats of the century (Lance Climate Change Commission, 2009). In the UK, the healthcare sector is one of the biggest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions, with operating theatres having a disproportionate environmental impact because of their energy-intensive processes, as well as high consumption of resources and production of waste.
The NHS has pledged to meet a net zero carbon target by 2045 through its Greener NHS campaign, and individual surgeons and surgical teams are in a unique position to lead efforts to improve the environmental sustainability of the operating theatre.
Who is this guide for?
This guide is for all members of the surgical team, as well as those who are responsible for leading and developing teams, and improving team performance.
What can I learn from this guide?
This guide makes practical recommendations for members of the surgical team in the areas of:
- Solid waste reduction
- Green purchasing
- Water conservation
- Care pathways
- Cultural change and surgical leadership.
The aim is to support improvements in surgical care through small, sustainable practices that maintain patient care and support environmental health.