Two Orthopaedic Surgeons have been nationally recognised for an innovative, sustainable healthcare project.
Mr Prash Jesudason from Ysbyty Gwynedd and Mr Preetham Kodumuri from Wrexham Maelor Hospital were one of five surgical teams competing in the first ever ‘Green Surgery Challenge’, co-hosted by the Royal College of Surgeons and the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare.
The NHS accounts for four per cent of the UK’s carbon footprint with operating theatres having a particularly high-energy use.
For their challenge, they focused on hand surgery, reducing the consumables used and the volume of clinical waste generated by creating a new, streamlined procedure pack. The team also reduced the use of ward beds and theatre space, effectively challenging the assumption that all surgical procedures must take place in theatres, when minor surgery can be carried out in rooms with lower energy requirements.
The project, which was joint runners up in the challenge, was also supported by team members from both hospital sites which include Iona Williamson, Sterile Services Manager, Teresa Revell, Deputy Team Leader Day Case Unit, Shan Roberts, Theatre Practitioner and Jack Houghton, Speciality Doctor in Orthopaedics.
Mr Jesudason said: “Surgery is laden with environmental inefficiencies based on habit and dogma rather than pragmatism and evidence.
“This project shows just how carbon intensive an operation is, and how much we can save by making relatively simple changes in how we work.
“Credit also to my collaborators at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Shan and Iona.
“I see this as just the start; a change in the tide, to reduce plastic waste and make carbon savings in surgical practice.”
This project demonstrated that it was not only safe to carry out the surgery in this manner but also increased productivity, had a lower environmental impact, a lower economic cost and also reduced time in the hospital for patients. The project has forecast annual savings of 11.6 tonnes CO2e/year and £12,641 a year which is equivalent to driving 33,285 times from the G7 in Cornwall to COP26 in Glasgow.
Speaking of his pride in the project, Mr Kodumuri added: “We are hugely excited about this success as this will make a big difference to the way we treat our patients in hand surgery across North Wales.
“I would like to thank my team Teresa, Jack, Mandy Evans and Claire Poole, without whom this project couldn’t have been completed.”
Dr Olivia Bush, Programme Lead for Sustainable Healthcare, said: “Strengths of this project were the modelling of a truly multi-disciplinary membership of the team, and this is essential for effective transformation for green, sustainable surgery that requires leadership with a systems-thinking approach.
“This project effectively challenged the assumption that surgical procedures must take place in theatres, when minor surgery can be carried out in rooms with lower energy requirements.
“In addition, the team not only modelled the likely impact of their proposed changes but they also implemented them, which was challenging in the context of disrupted surgical lists in the midst of the pandemic and the 10-week timescale of the challenge.”