Dr. Clifford L SHELTON
United Kingdom

Cliff Shelton is clinical lead for sustainability in the Wythenshawe Hospital Department of Anaesthesia and a co-opted member of the Association of Anaesthetists Environment and Sustainability Committee. He supervises sustainable healthcare fellows in the North West School of Anaesthesia and was the co-lead for the “Greener Operations” James Lind Alliance research priority setting partnership.

Innovating for Sustainability

Innovation is often presented as the solution to our environmental challenges, and yet the innovation process - design, extraction, manufacture, and so-on, all consumes energy and material, and releases carbon dioxide. Furthermore, much innovation is pioneered by industry - who make money through sales - hence, driving consumption.

Is there a role for innovation in making in anaesthesia greener? Or should we focus on reducing resource use instead?

In this presentation I will describe four innovations: volatile capture, nitrous oxide destruction, reusable devices and disposables that are 'recyclable by design', and consider the evidence for their environmental impacts.

There is a risk that innovation becomes a distraction, but by taking an evidence-based approach, we can ensure that reduction in resource use remains a priority focus. I believe that there is a useful role for innovation in sustainable anaesthesia - but it should not stand in the way of the basic principles of responsible resource management.