YGAS and Gain-WM Joint Sustainable Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Project Competition

We had a fantastic afternoon of collaboration between GAIN-WM (Green Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Network West Midlands) and YGAS with our first ever joint event on Thursday 24th February.

There were a great number of trainees from across both regions to listen to the 6 presentations that had been shortlisted for the sustainable anaesthesia and intensive care competition. We also heard from Victoria Stanford, a sustainable QI fellow, on how to combine sustainable values, be it environmental, social or financial, into any QI project as well as a brief presentation from Sharpsmart, the only recyclable sharps bin available.

The projects which were shortlisted for the competition covered a range of ideas such as switching from IV to oral paracetamol in day surgery, decommissioning nitrous oxide across a trust, removing desflurane from one hospital, prefilled syringes for common emergency drugs, greening theatres via a multifaceted approach and introducing reusable theatre hats.

All of these clinician led projects echoed Victoria Stanford’s words; clinicians have the power to implement and change the NHS. In order to meet the NHS 2040 net zero pledge we must utilise our influence, for example, in the NHS supply chain, and really make ourselves heard.

To judge the excellent projects were Dr Tom Pierce, a cardiac anaesthetist and environmental advisor to the President of RCoA who also created a CO2e & cost calculator of inhalational anaesthesia. Alexis Percival, who is the Environmental and Sustainability manager for Yorkshire Ambulance and founder of GrEAN (Green Environmental Ambulance Network) as well as Jason Gandhi, the national anaesthetic Sustainability Fellow based in Newcastle, who has been highlighting the use of desflurane, the carbon footprint of medical conferences and delving into the debate on single use vs recyclable items to make anaesthesia more sustainable.

The judges commended both the winning project and the runner up on their collaborative approaches to achieve their outcomes. The winner of the competition was the project ‘Bradford discontinues desflurane’ which truly reflected how an entire anaesthetic and critical care department worked together to remove desflurane vaporisers from theatre, highlighting the power of collective voices in implementing sustainable change. The runner up project was ‘Joining the #theatrecap challenge’ in which a group of anaesthetists from Coventry & Warwickshire replaced disposable, single use viscose theatre hats with reusable hats which were embroidered with names of each member of theatre staff. The colour of the anaesthetic hats also denoted grade. This project was not only sustainable but also improved safety and communication in theatre and is being rolled out across the entire West Midlands deanery.

There was a really positive energy from trainees throughout the afternoon, the sharing of ideas which can then disseminate further and praise for those who had already started implementing changes, whether simple or complex.

So if you feel inspired to get involved in a project check out GAIN-WM, YGAS and SusQI.org websites and remember the 4 principles of sustainable QI; prevention, patient self-care, lean delivery service and low carbon alternatives.

We look forward to seeing you at the next YGAS event!

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