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Guest posts

Impact: Environmentally Sustainable Healthcare

11 June 2014

If something is important, get involved and get it done.    Have you seen Dr Felicity  ‘Flick’ Hughes, an FY2, busying herself in operating theatres in Cardiff and Vale University Health Board? For Flick, the lack of recycling in our operating theatres was a problem.  She decided to do something about it.  Below is her report:

Building on the success of introducing recycling into the anaesthetic rooms in Llandough theatres, the Surgical Short Stay Unit in UHW is currently trialling the introduction of recycling into its anaesthetic rooms. Green recycling bins are enabling the recycling of routine anaesthetic waste including cardboard drug boxes and the paper from empty syringe packets. Recycling is reducing the impact on the environment by diverting waste away from alternative heat treatment and its associated enormous carbon dioxide emissions. This is helping Wales move towards the Government’s target of a Zero Waste society and is helping to create environmentally sustainable healthcare.

Flick recycling
Flick and Steve in recycling mode, SSSU Theatre 1 UHW

The impetus to get recycling rolled out across the anaesthetic rooms came from having been involved in a similar project as a medical student, but getting the project off the ground at UHW wouldn’t have been possible without the wealth of support I have had. In particular, thank you to Maureen Fallon and Andy Carson-Stevens for their advice in initiating the project, to Judith Smith, Mark Jenkins and Steve Taylor for their support in SSSU, to Gareth Taylor in waste management  and to everyone who has helped and supported the project.

Flick Hughes