Environmental Sustainability and Healthcare Sustainability, two sides of the same coin

Emily Farrow's picture

Dr Frances Mortimer (Centre for Sustainable Healthcare, Oxford) and Sir Muir Gray (Value Based Healthcare, University of Oxford) lead a session at the [“Igniting Collective Excellence”,] International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare in London on the 28th April 2017. The session was well attended with people from a variety of countries (including New Zealand, Mexico, the Netherlands) engaged in talking about “what is value”, how healthcare can do harm as well as good and the consequences of its under and over use on quality.

Sir Muir Gray outlined the different aspects of value (allocative, technical, personal and sustainable) and made the point that anything that does not add value should be considered as waste. He also encouraged people to think outside the box of financial resource use to consider other important resources and their impact on quality of care such as environmental (carbon) and social resources (patient/staff time).

Dr Frances Mortimer then introduced everyone to the 4 principles of sustainable healthcare ( prevention, patient engagement, lean systems and low carbon) and to the concept of sustainable quality improvement and the methods to achieve it. The audience discussed their own quality improvement work and how they might include environmental and social dimensions to their projects. Some interesting suggestions were made which included improvement projects focussed on telemedicine and community-based paediatric clinics enabling patients and staff to avoid commuter fares, long journeys and of course, carbon emissions.

Tweets about the session included:

“Distant communities can be impacted by our decisions - environmental sustainability isn't just local”
“In GP highest carbon footprint is from prescriptions - overprescribing and non compliance”

If you want to see more you can find them on Twitter using: #qff4

You can also download slides from the session above.

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