At Weavervale surgery we are committed to lowering our carbon footprint, to reduce our impact on the climate crisis and our environment. This is in line with the NHS plan to be carbon neutral by 2040 with 80% reductions in carbon emissions by 2032 (that’s just 11 years from now!)
Did you know that the NHS is responsible for 4% of the UK’s carbon footprint? In general practice, most of our carbon emissions are associated with prescribing, and in particular the prescribing of inhalers for asthma and COPD.
We all need to play our part. Look out for regular updates over the coming months. Start by only ordering the medication you need, to avoid waste, and order using the NHS app to cut down on travel.
Medical Services and their carbon footprint
Carbon emissions are linked with just about everything, from the food we eat, goods we buy, energy supply, transport, housing, clothes, financial services, health services (visits, procedures, drugs) etc.
There is a carbon cost to manufacturing of medicines, their containers, shipment to warehouses and onwards to pharmacies, and fuel used when patients go to collect their prescription.
We have already started prescribing the salbutamol brand “salamol” instead of Ventolin evohaler or unbranded salbutamol, in-line with advice and guidance from our Cheshire CCG medicines management team (and a national directive). This is because, although the medicine is exactly the same, the gases used to propel the active ingredient cause much less global warming. Blue reliever inhalers make up 70 % of inhalers prescribed.
Dry powder and soft mist inhalers, like the easyhaler range, turbohalers and the Ellipta range, have the lowest carbon footprint of all. We will be looking to talk about this with you at annual checks and medication reviews. Meanwhile, please keep using your existing inhalers to keep well! Changes to your preventer inhalers will only be made with your agreement, and only if your condition is stable and you would be suitable to change.
Some useful websites are:
For asthma, www.asthma.org.uk
For COPD, www.blf.org.uk
For general information, www.greenerpractice.co.uk/new-page-3
Info about inhalers and their carbon footprint, www.greenerpractice.co.uk/inhaler-recycling-1