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Scotland first nation in world to stop clinics using climate-harming anaesthetic
Scotland first nation in world to stop clinics using climate-harming anaesthetic,Hospitals in Scotland will no longer use desflurane for surgery - which has a global warming potential 2500 times higher than carbon dioxide.

Scotland first nation in world to stop clinics using climate-harming anaesthetic

Scotland has become the first country in the world to ban a climate-damaging anaesthetic gas.

Scots hospitals will no longer use desflurane, used as an anaesthetic during surgery, which it’s hoped will save emissions equivalent to powering 1700 homes a year.

Desflurane gas has a global warming potential a staggering 2500 times higher than carbon dioxide, NHS data shows.

The move was led by clinicians who have shifted away from using desflurane to clinically proven alternatives that are less harmful to the environment.

It’s the first step in NHS Scotland's National Green Theatres Programme, set to fully launch later in the spring, aimed at making hospital operating theatres more eco-friendly.

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Dr Kenneth Barker, Clinical Lead for the National Green Theatres Programme, said: “Theatres are high-carbon and energy-intensive areas that produce high volumes of waste, so reducing the environmental impact of theatres will make a positive difference toward achieving Scotland's net zero targets.

“NHS Scotland has assigned an ambitious target to be net-zero for anaesthetic gases by 2027, and removal of desflurane is just the first step towards this.

“Our patients always come first but it’s great that we are now making clinically safe patient care decisions with sustainability in mind.”

Speaking to the BBC, Dr Barker admitted he was shocked when he first learned the drug – which he had used for operations for more than a decade – was so damaging to the environment.

He added: "I realised in 2017 that the amount of desflurane we used in a typical day's work as an anaesthetist resulted in emissions equivalent to me driving 670 miles that day.

"I decided to stop using it straight away and many fellow anaesthetists have got on board.”

More than 40 hospital trusts in England have also stopped using the gas, along with a raft of Welsh clinics.

Scotland is the first nation to implement a full ban, with England planning to fully decommission desflurane next year, and other European countries expected to follow suit.

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