Croydon Universtiy Hospital, London, United Kingdom
Climate change is the major health concern of the twenty-first century and paradoxically, healthcare is one of the leading contributors to global warming. This study intends to investigate how urology can reduce its carbon footprint.
A review of the literature highlighted how energy consumption through air conditioning in particular, medical waste and anaesthetic gases are the main causes of emission from theatre.
Retrospective analysis of the number of general anaesthetics (GA) and anaesthetic gases used for all urological procedures over one month took place using electronic records. A questionnaire was provided to 30 theatre staff assessing their insight into the carbon footprint of the department. It investigated waste management and engagement with the climate crisis issue. Thirty-nine operations were done under GA, with sevoflurane used in 77% of cases and desflurane used in 18%. Education and appropriate recycling facilities were identified as key areas within waste management that need addressing.
This study identifies simple measures that can be introduced to greatly reduce the carbon footprint of urological operations. Energy consumption can be reduced with efficient theatre management and air conditioning awareness, whilst implementation of a well-structured educational programme and readily available recycling bins would address high levels of waste.