InnoScot Health believes Climate Week presents chance for innovation-driven ‘green recovery’

22/09/2023
Robert Rea (InnoScot Health)

INNOSCOT Health is throwing its support behind Scotland’s Climate Week (25 September – 1 October) as we increasingly look to a Net Zero future for both the country and the NHS. 

The annual event encourages individuals, communities, and businesses to unite behind tackling the global climate emergency while inspiring others to take action. 

Organisers say that Scotland was a world leader in becoming one of the first nations to declare a global climate emergency in April 2019 and must continue to be a pioneer.  

“The need to take action to tackle climate change is more urgent than ever,” the Scotland’s Climate Week website states. 

“So, as part of the global effort to fight the climate emergency Scotland has set an ambitious target to become ‘Net Zero’ by 2045, five years ahead of the rest of the UK.” 

More ambitious still, NHS Scotland has set a Net Zero target of 2040 and formal health service partner InnoScot Health wants to make a significant contribution to that through its Sustainability Innovation Call by inspiring and supporting new ideas. 

Scotland’s Climate Week organisers say that emissions from car use are among the biggest contributors to climate change in Scotland from individuals. 

Likewise, the NHS Scotland workforce can consider making greener decisions on how it commutes while the health service itself is working hard on making its practices more sustainable with increased virtual consultations helping to prevent unnecessary patient travel. 

Earlier this year, NHS Scotland positively became the first national health service in the United Kingdom to stop using an environmentally damaging anaesthetic gas. 

In fact, Desflurane – used as an anaesthetic during surgery – has a global warming potential which is 2,500 times greater than carbon dioxide. 

Its removal from use in hospital theatres across NHS Scotland is now saving emissions equivalent to powering 1,700 homes every year. 

The National Green Theatres Programme has followed, aiming to cut the high emissions and waste typically generated in surgery while maintaining the highest levels of patient safety and quality of care. 

The first set of actions are expected to reduce carbon emissions by 7,100 tonnes of carbon dioxide – equivalent to 4,400 single passenger return flights from Glasgow to New York. 

The programme features a number of measures including moving away from single use instruments/consumables, introducing waste segregation, and switching from pre-operative intravenous to oral paracetamol. 

InnoScot Health’s Head of Innovation, Robert Rea said: “Historically, Scotland has consistently been proven to be a pioneer in so many ways, and we can now be innovators in the battle to prevent climate change too. 

“Following the pandemic and the country’s demonstration of its ability to quickly and collectively pivot, there is real opportunity for the population to now make a ‘green recovery’ – to pull together and make smart, sustainable choices as the country renews and resets. 

“It’s great to see that happening with NHS Scotland taking meaningful action – from its aim to be Net Zero for anaesthetic gases by 2027, with the removal of Desflurane being the first step, to the environmental opportunities inherent in digital health which the Scottish Government has identified. 

“But so much more can be achieved and InnoScot Health can help NHS forward thinkers to do that.”  

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