New tech to reduce cost and carbon footprint of anaesthesia

An award winning innovation within the anaesthesia industry has been launched at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, after reports that it reduces both cost and carbon footprint.

A collaboration with SageTech Medical, Innovate UK and the University of Exeter has facilitated the development of a unique process to capture and recycle the anaesthetic gases used in hospitals.

When anaesthetics are administered via a face mask, around 95% of the gases are released directly into the atmosphere. SageTech Medical’s new technology captures the waste gas before it is released into the environment. This gas is then purified and reused, a process that saves the hospital money while also reducing its carbon footprint.

Roberta Fuller, General Manager for Anaesthetics, Critical Care and Theatres at RCHT said, “This is an exciting innovation for healthcare. Not only is it cost effective, but it will help us in reducing our environmental impact, something that we are passionate about at RCHT.

“We are proud to be at the forefront of this new technology and to be working with SageTech, Innovate UK and the University of Exeter on a project that could have such a major impact across the NHS.”

Inhalable anaesthetics are hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). These HFCs are highly pollutive, despite this, legislation which is designed to curb HFCs is not currently enforced for anaesthetic agents because there are no viable recycling solutions available. According to the University of Exeter, just 1kg of commonly-used anaesthetic is the equivalent of 2,500kg of CO2.

Industry recognition

SageTech’s development won the Association of Anaesthetists 2020 Award for Innovation in Anaesthesia, Critical Care and Pain. Speaking after the awards, Dr Sebastian Brown, co-founder and Research Director of SageTech said “We are delighted to win the Association Innovation Prize 2020.

“SageTech is very excited to bring the possibility of recycling inhalational anaesthetics to life, to reduce our carbon footprint and enable flexibility in the way we deliver anaesthesia.

“We are pleased to be able to recognise the invaluable contribution from our industrial partners, funders and anaesthetists who have supported us and made this possible.

“Industry and healthcare professionals are coming together to address climate change and we are privileged to be a part of this transformation.”

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