A SURGICAL team at Solihull Hospital has carried out the first documented carbon neutral operation in the NHS.
University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), which oversees the running of Solihull Hospital said this was done on a keyhole procedure to remove a bowel cancer.
The Trust added the patient is recovering well.
The operation introduced several changes to the team’s normal practice including reusable gowns, drapes, and scrub caps, giving medications through the veins rather than anaesthetic gases, and only opening items as they were required.
Emissions normally involved in the procedure were said to have been reduced by 80%, with the shortfall addressed by surgeons cycling or running to work instead of driving, along with the planting of trees at the hospital.
Aneel Bhangu, consultant colorectal surgeon, said the move was about planning for the future.
He added: “We cannot achieve net zero health systems without making surgery more green, so this is a vital proof of concept step.
“Ensuring healthcare is environmentally friendly is important to patients and communities.
“These measures require changes in behaviour and care pathways across complex teams.
“We now hope to work with colleagues across the UK to create a wider impact across the whole NHS.”
The net zero operation involved all members of the team including the surgeons, anaesthetists, nurses, cleaners, porters, and managers.
Tim Jones, chief innovation officer at UHB, added: “I would like to thank Aneel and his colleagues for their work on delivering the first net zero operation in the NHS.
“As a large NHS organisation, we know UHB has a significant carbon footprint, but we are committed to reducing this as much as possible whilst still providing the care and treatment our patients need.
“I hope this net zero operation is the first of many, not just at UHB but across the NHS.”
Further net zero operations are planned at UHB.