Respiratory care has some of the biggest problems (inhalers) and many good solutions for sustainable healthcare.

Plans underway for a Sustainable Respiratory Inhalers Programme

The continued use of metered-dose inhalers (MDIs) in respiratory care will have a potentially serious effect on global warming if production is not controlled, largely because these inhalers use potent green-house gas hydroflourocarbons (HFCs) as propellants. A cost-effective and safe alternative is available in the form of Dry Powder Inhalers (DPIs), and we propose a programme to change prescribing practices such that DPIs are used in preference to HFC-driven inhalers where not clinically contra-indicated. 

Sustainable Respiratory Inhalers Programme - briefing note

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.

Centre for Sustainable Healthcare
March, 2013

Cradle to Gate

Greenhouse Gas Accounting Sector Guidance for Pharmaceutical Products and Medical Devices

A consortium of major global companies has been working with the NHS SDU to agree standards for reporting of carbon equivalents emissions for the manufacture of drugs and medical devices. The report was launched on Friday 30th Nov 2012 at St Thomas' Hospital in London and is a real achievement, albeit only the beginning of a lot more work. 

Greener Inhalers for the UK

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.  

Sustainable COPD Priorities 2012 survey

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.

Centre for Sustainable Healthcare
March, 2012

Sustainable Respiratory Care - Summary Statement (March 2012)

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.

Centre for Sustainable Healthcare
March, 2012

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Natural resources footprint for NHS and social care

This is the most recent carbon/natural resources footprint of health and social care in England, based on 2017 data. Of note, the greenhouse gas emissions from metered dose inhalers are estimated at 0.85 Mt CO2e, which is around 3.2% of total emissions for the sector.

Sustainable Development Unit, NHS England & Public Health England
September, 2018

RCP video on NHS environmental impact

Short animation to raise awareness of the NHS contribution to environmental issues such as climate change and air pollution, and encourage health professionals to look for environmentally friendly ways to practise.

Royal College of Physicians
September, 2018

Making Sense of Social Prescription

The University of Westminster has published an excellent explanatory document on social prescription. It's a fantastic end to end resource with explanations of terminology, structures, different types of social prescription, and referral examples.

August, 2017

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