Team NNUH feature in COP26 photography exhibition

The work of our sustainability in theatres committee is being seen by world leaders, delegates and environmentalists this week at COP26 in Glasgow.

Joel Fiddy, Matron for Theatres Governance, Risk and Education and Dr Amy Greengrass, Consultant Anaesthetist, feature in a new Greener NHS photography exhibition, which has gone on display at the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Team NNUH has been chosen by NHS England to be featured in the exhibition titled “Care for the future: delivering the world’s first net zero health service”.

In October 2020, the NHS became the world’s first health system to commit to reaching carbon net zero, in response to the profound and growing threat to health posed by climate change.

This unique collection of nine photographs, captured by portrait photographer Justin Lambert, celebrates the people and the teams behind the delivery of a net zero NHS, and provides an intimate insight into their personal motivations and stories of action.

Visitors to the exhibition at COP26, including political leaders and their delegations from around the world, will be taken on a journey of greener healthcare from birth through to older age, up and down England. They will draw inspiration from NHS people on the frontlines of this critical transformation and uncover how greener healthcare is improving the way the NHS delivers high-quality care for patients today, as well as improving health now and for generations to come.

The exhibition will be on display in the Blue Zone of the COP26 venue in Glasgow, for the duration of the conference until 12 November, before it will move on to Newcastle NHS Hospital Trust in December, and then across each of the seven NHS regions over the course of 2022.

Our surgical and anaesthetic teams have been praised for pioneering one of the greenest operating theatres in England by reducing unnecessary emissions while maintaining high quality patient care. The NNUH team have taken a significant step towards reducing greenhouse gases by removing desflurane – one of the worst polluting agents – from most of our operating theatres.

The NNUH team have also introduced the use of reusable trays for drawing up anaesthetic drugs as well as started waste segregation in theatres, which has led to increased recycling practices. They use reusable surgical drapes and gowns where possible. The move to reusable trays within the main theatre complex is estimated to cut carbon emissions equivalent to at least 6,500 miles driven by the average car.

Dr Greengrass, Consultant Anaesthetist, said: “Climate change is the single largest crisis facing us today and is also a health crisis. In order to start meeting the NHS net zero targets, change needs to start happening now and we have an opportunity to be at the forefront of this change. Our Sustainability within Theatres Committee has already made significant changes since April 2021 and we know there is much more work to be done.”

“There has been a really positive reaction in the department amongst anaesthetic and theatre staff and climate change is very much in the public consciousness.”