Nuffield takes action on climate change

One of Nuffield Health’s theatres at Barts Hospital

Nuffield Health’s teams across the UK are helping fight climate change by switching to lower carbon alternatives.

The healthcare charity group’s 37 hospitals across the UK have stopped using anaesthetic gas Desflurane and are using more Sevoflurane which has a much lower carbon footprint.

Dr Sumit Das

Dr Sumit Das, consultant paediatric anaesthetist at Nuffield Health Oxford Hospital and Oxford Univ­ersity NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘Desflurane was originally introduced as an agent that promised a faster wake-up time. Systematic reviews show that patients wake up to three minutes faster with Des­flurane compared to Sevo­flurane. 

‘However, no research paper has demonstrated that Desflurane leads to patients leaving recovery earlier. Given the significant negative impact of Desflurane on the climate, eradicating its use from Nuffield Health’s hospitals is a significant step towards reaching carbon net zero by 2040.’

Victoria Hadley, head of social impact and sustainability at Nuffield Health, said: ‘Our decision to stop using Desflurane across our hospitals will result in a reduction of just under 1,000 tonnes of carbon over the course of this year. 

‘As part of our “Greener Surgery” strategy, we are also working hard to reduce our emissions associated with energy use, waste and single use items.’

Nuffield said it had set targets to reach carbon net zero by 2040, with a shorter-term goal of carbon net zero in its own operations by 2030. 

The charity is prioritising the procurement of renewable-produced power and 100% of directly purchased electricity comes from natural renewable sources. 

It is also investing in air handling units and upgrading building management systems to increase heating, ventilation and air conditioning energy efficiency across its 114 fitness and well-being centres.