Environmentally Sustainable Anaesthesia

Globally, healthcare is responsible for nearly 5% of total global greenhouse gas emissions and similar fractions of harmful air pollutants. A UK study found that inhalational anaesthetic agents alone are estimated to contribute nearly 3% of healthcare-related emissions. 

WFSA convened an international group of experts to identify achievable recommendations that clinicians around the globe can adopt to reduce the environmental impact of anaesthesia services without negatively impacting on patient outcomes.

The Working Group agreed on the following three important underlying statements: patient safety should not be compromised by sustainable anaesthetic practices; high-, middle- and low-income countries should support each other appropriately in delivering sustainable healthcare (including anaesthesia); and healthcare systems should be mandated to reduce their contribution to global warming. 

The findings and recommendations from this working group were published in the journal Anaesthesia in 2021.

The WFSA Global Working Group on Environmental Sustainability in Anaesthesia agreed on seven principles that any anaesthesia provider in the world should strive to achieve. These are set out in the image.

Further Reading:

White et al. Principles of environmentally-sustainable anaesthesia: a global consensus statement from the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists. Anaesthesia November 2021.

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