Huge reduction in hospital nitrous oxide usage by switching to portable cylinders


From left: Aaron Fleming (Anaesthetic Registrar), James Boyd-Horton (Horton Operating Department Practitioner), Karen Wentworth-Foster (Horton Theatre Manager), Marta Astraverkhava (Anaesthetic Consultant)

The annual saving is equivalent to the emission produced by leaving a low-energy light bulb on for 39,133 years

Removing piped nitrous oxide from the Horton General Hospital and replacing it with locally stored cylinders is set to save more than 500 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions every year.

Portable supplies of the gas have been in use when needed in the operating theatres since February this year.  Its used occasionally by anaesthetists for sedation and pain relief, but is a greenhouse gas.

Supplying nitrous oxide using pipelines around the hospital was found to be wasteful with a  risk of leaks.  Now much smaller amounts of the gas are kept on site. 

An Oxford University Hospitals audit suggested that the Horton used only around 5% of the nitrous oxide ordered for the piped system.   The annual saving is equivalent to the emission produced by 261,586 return train journeys between Banbury and Oxford.

Dr Marta Astraverkhava, a Consultant Anaesthetist, said: “We as a team were determined to identify nitrous oxide wastage so we could reduce its environmental impact and support the Trust- and NHS-wide pledge to be net zero by 2040.

“We are proud to be able to change our approach at the Horton and vastly reduce the amount of nitrous oxide being wasted.”

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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