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Reducing nitrous oxide emissions form anaesthesia

Gas control specialist, BPR Medical, and Medclair, a Sweden-based specialist in safe nitrous oxide use, have agreed to share technology and product information to help the NHS achieve its aim of reducing nitrous oxide emissions by 75 per cent.

This target is part of the service’s  goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent within the next seven to 11 years, and achieve ‘Net Zero’ by 2040.

Anaesthetic gases used in surgery and for pain relief have a high carbon footprint. BPR Medical explained: “Nitrous oxide – used by 50-75 per cent of women in labour, and widely in other hospital departments in the UK – has a global warming potential 298 times that of carbon dioxide (CO2). According to the Delivering a ‘Net Zero’ National Health Service report, published in October 2020, the capture and destruction of the gas could reduce NHS anaesthetic emissions by over a third, and save an estimated 90 kilotonnes of CO2 equivalent (ktC02e) annually if implemented by 132 NHS Trusts.”

The report refers to nitrous oxide destruction technology supplied by Medclair, which has been deployed routinely in Sweden for the past 16 years. The aim of the collaboration between BPR Medical, manufacturer of the Ultraflow demand valve, which includes the option of a gas scavenging system, and Medclair, which specialises in safe nitrous oxide management, is to extend the use of systems to capture and destroy the gas to prevent environmental emissions.

Mikael König, President and CEO of Medclair, said: “The NHS has the most developed nitrous oxide programme in the world, and has recognised its duty to safeguard the environment from its harmful effects. The initiative to reduce these emissions also brings significant benefits to the safety and wellbeing of healthcare professionals, who are regularly exposed to gas in the work environment. Our collaboration with BPR Medical, a leading expert in inhaled analgesia systems, is an important step in extending the use of nitrous oxide management systems in the UK.”

Richard Radford, MD of BPR Medical, said: “Our primary focus has always been delivering the safest and most efficient pain relief to patients using our demand valves. Like Medclair though, we are also concerned about the environmental impact of nitrous oxide, and the potential harm of prolonged exposure to the gas by midwives and other hospital staff. That’s why we are keen to work with Medclair to support the NHS in achieving its ‘net zero’ goal.”

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Access the latest issue of Health Estate Journal on your mobile device together with an archive of back issues.

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