Green Nephrology

Andy Connor's picture

Now is perhaps a good point to reflect on my first couple of months as the Green Nephrology Fellow, a kidney doctor charged with exploring the environmental impact of all that we do in kidney care. It’s been exciting, challenging, confusing, rewarding, frustrating and many other things. But, most of all, it’s been different. Very different! Gone are the patients saying ‘thank you’ (or not), gone are the nurses telling you what needs doing (and when), gone is the structure of a clinic (with its guaranteed productivity of patients seen and dictation tape handed in) and gone are the juniors to shepherd (or berate).

My ‘induction day’ at the Campaign for Greener Healthcare certainly wasn’t what I expected. None of the fire lectures, security briefings or laborious IT password sessions that all prove simultaneously under and over whelming in a standard local Trust induction, of which I’ve sat through seven. Instead, an early train from Dorset to Oxford gave me just enough time to pitch the tent before a strategy planning session with Frances. Then it was back on the bike and the train to catch the launch of 10:10 at the Tate Modern and meet the rest of the team. And every day has been different since then.

My first priority has been to identify Local Representatives in individual kidney units. We now have over 50 ‘champions’ of Green Nephrology in adult and childrens units throughout England, Scotland and Wales. It’s been great to see the enthusiasm for sustainability that already exists within the specialty, but the cajoling, nurturing and badgering will continue until every unit is represented and active! The first task for these Local Representatives has been to benchmark the current standards of sustainability within kidney care through the completion of the online Green Nephrology Renal Unit Survey for their unit. The results of the survey will be vital in helping to shape the programme. Next we’ll be looking to sign up patients to work with the Local Representatives.

The coming months look busy too. Our ground-breaking carbon footprinting projects are starting to take shape, thanks to the help of soil scientists in Warwick, footprinting experts in Oxford, my local hospital in Dorset, doctors in Australia and many others. We plan to map the footprints of kidney care and different aspects of the renal replacement pathways.

Alongside this work we’re also identifying and exploring the areas of good practice already happening – and hopefully making them more accessible and enticing to other units through the development of ‘What Works’ guidance. Look out for the upcoming Webinar on water re-use in dialysis, bringing together expertise from Kent, Bradford and London units. Then it will be off to Coventry to investigate the way they use virtual clinics to follow up transplant patients. Visits to units perfecting recycling and IT initiatives are also pencilled in. The tyres on the Brompton are wearing thin…

And there’s so much more to do. We’ll be working with the policy makers to encourage sustainable commissioning, and I’ve been to deepest Northamptonshire to learn about sustainability in the renal industry with Baxter – watch out for our forthcoming ideas on sustainable procurement.

I’ll keep you all posted. But get in touch with any ideas or queries, through

Best wishes,



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