Scotland bans anaesthetic that damages environment

It’s become the first country to make the move

Big Zero Report 2023

Scotland has become the first country to stop its hospitals from using an anaesthetic that threatens the environment.

Desflurane is a gas that’s used to keep people sedated when undergoing surgery, however, the NHS has estimated that its potential to exacerbate global warming is 2,500 times higher than carbon dioxide.

It’s estimated that the block on using the gas will remove enough emissions to power 1,700 homes per year.

England is set to implement the same ban from next year, with 40 hospital trusts already having stopped use.

The NHS predicts that a ban in England alone would cut enough emissions to power 11,000 homes.

Scottish Health and Social Care Secretary, Humza Yousaf, said: “Programmes like this are key to our transition to become a net zero health service, whilst ensuring patient safety remains at the heart of every clinical decision.”

Anaesthetic gases account for up to 5% of the NHS’s overall carbon footprint.

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