As part of an environmental competition they are tipped to make staggering carbon emissions savings of 16,393 kgCO2e and £37,042.
The potential overall annual savings from the Green Ward Competition have been called ‘incredible’, by The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare.
The Theatre Recovery Team won the competition for their innovative project, which saw them switch to metallic cold sticks for testing spinal and epidural blocks, reducing their use of ethyl chloride spray by 80 per cent. This amounts to a forecast annual carbon emissions saving of 4,613kgCO2e and £4,827. If this was spread to eight surgical wards it could save 36 tonnes CO2e and £37,413 annually.
Team lead Helen Spencer Jones and her team mates Emily Young, Joao Fontes and Sharon Clyde said the savings could be spread even further once the hospital trust merges with Poole Hospital to become University Hospitals Dorset NHS Trust on 1 October.
Joao said, “The sticks have the same accuracy as the spray, which costs about £17 and have to travel from Eastern Europe, whereas the sticks cost about £60, are made locally, and we only need two per unit.”
The remaining contestants from other departments were also impressive, with the Radiology Department reducing the waste of unused items in basic packs. In total 30 packs were saved during one month which amounts to a forecasted annual carbon emissions saving of 38kgCO2e, and £94.
The Eye Unit implemented interventions to reduce the number of wasted appointments in outpatients. If they could be reduced by 50 per cent the carbon footprint could be reduced by 7,208 kgCO2e annually, with £18,317 in savings.
The Pharmacy Team came up with three innovations. In the first they launched a campaign advising patients to return used inhalers to a pharmacy; this allows greenhouse gases in the inhaler to be destroyed instead of leaking into the atmosphere. Carbon emissions savings would be 36kgCO2e per patient, per inhaler.
In their second project the team found that a simple change to their system of reusing medicines returned from the wards would potentially save carbon emissions of 1,353 kgCO2e and £8,267 annually.
Their third project saw them reduce waste of ward medicines returned to pharmacy. By cutting the dose units differently this waste could be reduced by 30 per cent which amounts to a forecast annual carbon emissions savings of 879 kgCO2e and £4,415 respectively.
Finally the Immunology Lab Team aimed to reduce the volume of waste water and energy used by the water distiller with striking results. By turning the distiller off between 1.1 and 4.6 hours per day the team is able to save carbon emissions equating to 2,266 kgCO2e and £1,121 annually.
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