Western Health has been named a finalist in the prestigious Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Awards Health category for an initiative that has swapped anaesthetic gases to achieve environmental benefit.
The gases used as anaesthetics have a markedly different global warming potential but have similar clinical effects and can be interchanged.
Western Health successfully reduced greenhouse impacts and achieved financial savings by converting anaesthetists’ choice of anaesthetic agent from desflurane and nitrous oxide to sevoflurane and propofol, where clinically possible.
In 2017, Western Health saved the equivalent to 181 tonnes of CO2e omissions and saved approximately $77,000. Steps to achieve this involved endorsing a policy, removing desflurane from the anaesthetics trolley, and staff education.
Dr Forbes McGain who is an anaesthetist and intensive care physician at Western Health was the driving force behind this initiative. He has also completed a PhD on sustainability in healthcare.
“It is a terrific validation of Western Health’s commitment to being socially and environmentally responsible in the way we use and optimise resources,” he said.
“We know that our operations contribute toward climate change and have other impacts on our environment – and this is one of many things we are doing to address these impacts.
“We want to be seen as a leading organisation working toward environmental sustainability. And it’s what the community expects of us.”
CEO of Sustainability Victoria, Stan Krpan, describes the project as ‘exceptional’.
“Western Health demonstrated to the judges that they have translated the principles of sustainability into practice to achieve outstanding results for our environment and the state of our future.”
“Victoria is an amazing place to live and Western Health is helping to keep it that way, we congratulate them as a finalist,” he said.
The Premier’s Sustainability Awards are the highest profile program of their kind in Victoria.
This year’s finalists have been selected in ten categories. Winners will be announced at the Premier’s Sustainability Awards gala dinner at The Forum in Melbourne on Thursday 11 October.
The Premier will also personally select two overall winners of the Premier’s Regional Recognition Award and the Premier’s Recognition Award, to be announced at the ceremony.
For more information about these awards go to www.sustainabilityawards.vic.gov.au