The Centre's Sustainable Respiratory Care group will lead research on why the UK continues to use inhalers with a much higher carbon footprint than other European countries.
Following the Montreal protocol banning the use of CFC gases in 1987, many countries moved directly to a new technology for inhalers based on Dried Powder (DPIs) while the UK still prescribes a majority of metered dose inhalers (MDIs) which use powerful greenhouse gases.
On the 23rd of March I was lucky to be among a group of respiratory professionals, representatives from primary care, nursing, academic and the pharmaceutical industry as we came together to discuss how Respiratory medicine contributes, and can help to reduce the carbon footprint of the NHS.
The Summit on 23 March came up with too many ideas - we need to decide where to start with improving sustainability of COPD care in 2012. Please help us by completing this survey, which scores each area for clinical/environmental impact, programme development impact, and achievability.
In March 2012, leading members of the respiratory care community attended a Summit entitled “Respiratory Care 2020: High Quality, Low Carbon” . The meeting identified priority areas for action to improve the environmental sustainability of respiratory services.
The Institute for Government held a policy reunion of the key players that were involved in policies to reduce tobacco use in England, which lead to the enactment of the ban on smoking in public places in 2005.
The first meeting of the Sustainable Respiratory Care programme: a diverse group (including respiratory physicians, GPs, nurses, academics, industry representatives, commissioners and sustainability experts) identified priority areas for action in care for patients with COPD.
Value in healthcare is a recent concept which is being adopted by commissioners and healthcare leaders to focus on treatments which really make an impact to patients, whilst being delivered in an efficient way.
Costing healthcare is a complex area, and carbon costing is becoming more and more relevant. Read on to find out a little more about how the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare is looking to help commissioners define value in respiratory care.
In February 2011 GlaxoSmithKline and the Cooperative Pharmacy in partnership with TerraCycle UK launched the first respiratory inhaler recycling programme in Europe. Forty Cooperative pharmacies across South Wales and the South East of England were piloting the programme for an initial six months. While the pharmacies encouraged patients to drop off their inhalers at their branch, TerraCycle UK recycled every element of the inhaler. After proving a huge success, the project was extended to 200 Cooperative pharmacies from November 2011.
Table of Actions for a Sustainable Respiratory Inhalers Programme - first created in consultation with Sustainable Respiratory Care Advisory Group in February 2013. This table can be updated as actions are completed or proposed.
The continued use of metered-dose inhalers in respiratory care will have a potentially catastrophic effect on global warming if production is not controlled, largely because these inhalers use potent green-house gas hydroflourocarbons (HFCs) as propellants.
The NHS has committed to reduce its carbon footprint but, aside from ensuring that legislative targets are reached, the benefits of decreasing greenhouse gas emissions are well documented. Yet the NHS faces increasing financial and service pressures; meaning that ‘green’ working is not always at the forefront of consideration. Many NHS organisations in England procure paper through the NHS Supply Chain Core Stationary list, which only contains paper produced from virgin (non-recycled) sources. As such, out of the 3.6 million reams of paper procured through NHS Supply Chain, only 29,000 were produced from recycled sources.