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St George’s Hospital harnesses ‘catalytic converter for gas and air’

Dental patients and women in labour will be given ‘green gas and air’ at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, 'reducing pain on the planet, as well as during childbirth and tooth extractions'.

In a UK first, the south-west London teaching hospital is investing in a device dubbed the ‘catalytic converter of gas and air’. The photo shows Vicky Grayson, lead Midwife for St George’s midwifery-led birth unit, with the device, which is made by Medclair - working in partnership with Ultraflow manufacturer BPR Medical - and is part of the hospital’s drive to reduce its carbon footprint. BPR Medical said: “Nitrous oxide, regularly combined with oxygen to produce Entonox, provides sedation in dental and emergency procedures, and pain relief in labour. However, the gas has almost 300 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.” 

The two companies say the mobile nitrous oxide conversion unit at St George’s will be the UK’s first trialled in a dental department. It breaks gas down into harmless oxygen and nitrogen before it is released, reducing its impact on the environment, and staff exposure to the medical gas. It is already being used in endoscopy at the hospital, and by the midwifery- led birth unit.

Dr Emma Evans, South West London Clinical lead for Net Zero, and consultant anaesthetist at St George’s, said: “Patients won’t experience any difference in their clinical care, and how they receive pain relief remains the same, but after its use, the gas will be disposed of through the device. After trialling mobile devices in our dental, endoscopy, and midwifery-led birth units, we will scope out the potential for a central system to service a larger number of clinical areas too.”

Kate Slemeck, managing director for St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “These devices eliminate 99% of the nitrous oxide released into the environment, and their implementation plays a small, but very important, part in our overall Green Plan.”

Managing Director of BPR Medical, Richard Radford, said:  “We are delighted to be working to provide a sustainable and environmentally-friendly pain relief solution for patients at St George’s. The device handles exhaled nitrous oxide in a way that is both climate-friendly and convenient to the patient, while giving them safe, efficient pain relief.”

Chief Executive of Medclair, Jonas Lundh, added: “It’s fantastic to see that more hospitals across the NHS are adopting nitrous oxide conversion systems. Scaled across the entire health service, this technology could reduce NHS nitrous oxide emissions by up to 75%. We are seeing more and more innovative efforts like this across the health service to tackle the global climate crisis.”

 

 

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