North Bristol NHS Trust holds ‘green operating day’ including use of tech to minimise carbon footprint

North Bristol NHS Trust has shared insight into a ‘green operating day’ held by the trust’s neurosurgery team at Southmead Hospital which saw a one-day trial run simultaneously across all neurosurgical theatres to explore how sustainably the operating list could be run.

As part of their efforts, the team used technology in order to support remote follow-up and programming of devices where possible in order to minimise patient travel, with chief medical officer Tim Whittlestone emphasising the need to “experiment with new technologies and ways of working.”

As part of the project, the sustainability team collated and analysed data on total emission reductions and found that the changes made through the trial “resulted in emissions connected with operations on the day being reduced by at least 77 percent”. Alongside use of tech, other sustainable efforts by the trust included liaising with suppliers to transport equipment in a “carbon-neutral way” such as by bicycle, minimising single use equipment, and minimising unnecessary energy use within theatres.

Tim stated that the trust is “committed to reducing our impact on the environment” by “constantly innovating and improving our healthcare services and delivering the best possible patient experience”.

North Bristol NHS Trust shares hopes that the findings from their project can inspire other NHS trusts to undertake similar net zero projects to form part of a wider discussion around sustainability in healthcare, with sustainability manager Megan Murphy commenting: “For us, this project is about making the case for behavioural changes – because people have always done things a certain way. 

“It’s about encouraging a shift towards the way of thinking that the staff working on this project have demonstrated – that enthusiasm and openness to change is exactly what we’re looking for, and that’s exactly the way that we are going to reach net zero, if everybody thought that way and took these kinds of actions.”

We previously looked into the sustainability strategy 2023 – 2028 from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, which shares a vision for a “resilient health service which is socially, economically and environmentally sustainable” and sets out plans to utilise technology to support with property, transport, communications and more.

In addition, we highlighted the ‘Go Green, Go Digital’ week from North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare; and we explored the role of digital in green plans from five integrated care systems here.