Green Nephrology at the BRS RA

Andy Connor's picture

As many of you will know, the Green Nephrology team had a busy time at the recent joint British Renal Society and Renal Association meeting in Manchester.

I’m grateful to Vifor for the invitation to speak at their Monday afternoon symposium on intravenous iron (and for their donation to the Campaign for Greener Healthcare). The message from both the speakers and the audience was clear; patients benefit from moving iron services closer to home, and we must find ways around the funding issues that don’t at present encourage this. I enjoyed the opportunity to illustrate the potential environmental benefits of community iron services, and to raise awareness of the environmental impact that kidney care has generally - to an unsuspecting audience who’d come to hear about iron! I have become well practised in the art of speaking directly after our National Clinical Director, Donal O’Donoghue - this was the fourth time in 9 months – who frequently outlines the response required from the renal community in these times of economic belt-tightening. I hope my presentation illustrated the contribution that the Green Nephrology Programme can make to his vision for the future, in which we focus on higher value activities and develop efficient and effective pathways to deliver them.

[ibimage====undefined==undefined==undefined==undefined]In between the sessions, running the Green Nephrology stall in the exhibition hall provided an excellent chance to meet new faces, discuss the many benefits of the Green Nephrology initiatives and hear about peoples’ success stories across the different units. But I must admit I was glad when Frances turned up on Wednesday to lend a hand. This freed me up to seek out Fraser Campbell’s contribution on the Green Nephrology Heat Exchangers case study in the conference Poster Exhibition, and to take a look at the industry stalls (I was amazed to see how many are starting to consider sustainability issues important).

Wednesday night saw us bidding to swell the Green Nephrology coffers at the roulette wheel (monopoly money only, sadly) before the real work began on Thursday. You can find out more about our Green Nephrology Reception, kindly sponsored by Kidney Care, on the Thursday morning by reading Frances’ news article. It was great to hear our renal Tsar, Donal O’Donoghue, and the President Elect of the Renal Association, Charlie Tomson (left), speak proudly of the work done so far, but better still to meet (and thank!) many of those who have made important contributions to the programme in their local units so far. It is clear that a sense of community is developing and that the Green Nephrology Programme has a momentum.


Simeon Edwards, Green Nephrology Local Representative, Cornwall

The formal Green Nephrology Session was held on the Thursday afternoon. This was perhaps the first session devoted entirely to sustainability to be incorporated into the national conference of any specialty, and a marker of progress in itself. The audience numbers suffered a little from there being four other parallel sessions, and it being the penultimate session of a four day conference, and the impact of this was perhaps exaggerated further by the somewhat optimistic decision to place our emerging discipline in the auditorium (seeking over 800!) But Prof Ian Roberts, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, introduced the audience to the topic of sustainability with a thought provoking explanation of why renal services should care about green issues. I provided an update on our progress so far, before Nic Hoenich, Steve Milne and myself spoke on waste management, water salvage and telephone clinics respectively.

Our challenge now is to continue the good work and, next year, to draw a bigger crowd. The challenge for the Renal Association is to find a venue with recycling facilities and no bottled water!

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