Cromwell Hospital trials device to reduce anaesthetic gas emissions

Bupa’s Cromwell Hospital in London has become the first private hospital in the UK to trial a medical device which captures and recycles waste anaesthetic gases as part of efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.

Developed by SageTech Medical, the SID-Dock is a Class 1 medical device that can be integrated into hospitals’ existing theatre equipment. It captures up to 99.9% of the waste anaesthetic breathed out by a patient during an operation. This is safely stored in canisters, which are collected by SageTech and recycled back into pharmaceuticals.

Around 95% of the anaesthetic used during surgery is released into the atmosphere as waste – equating to 97,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) each year in the UK. According to the NHS Sustainable Development Unit, wasted anaesthetic gases represent 5% of the carbon footprint for the acute hospital sector.

Mehnuhlik Lynch, anaesthetic team leader at Cromwell Hospital, said, ‘Clinicians are becoming more and more aware about the impact their clinical practice is having on the environment. Using SageTech’s solution, we can help reduce the carbon footprint of anaesthesia and give patients a greener choice for their healthcare.’

Bupa has committed to achieving net zero for Scope 3 (value chain) emissions by 2040 – five years ahead of the NHS and independent sector’s target of 2045.

Sarah Melia, general manager health services, Bupa UK said: ‘We know that the health of the planet and people’s health are intertwined and it’s essential we’re looking after both. To do this, we need innovative solutions to the sustainability challenges we face, and our trial of SageTech Medical’s system is a good example of the steps we’re taking to become Net Zero.’

SageTech was one of six start-ups that made it through to the global final of the 2022 eco-Disruptive programme, where Bupa employees partner with sustainability start-ups to tackle environmental challenges. The Cromwell Hospital is also working with Upcycled – Bupa Global & UK’s regional winner in the inaugural 2021 eco-Disruptive programme – to provide uniforms and scrubs made from waste plastic collected from the sea and landfill.