Scotland becomes 1st country to ban climate-harming anesthetic

Scotland becomes 1st country to ban climate-harming anesthetic

Desflurane, used as anesthetic during surgery, has global warming potential 2,500 times greater than carbon dioxide, says government

By Aysu Bicer

LONDON (AA) - Scotland has become the first country in the world to ban the use of the anesthetic desflurane due to its harmful impact on the environment.

"Desflurane, used as an anaesthetic during surgery, has a global warming potential 2,500 times greater than carbon dioxide," the Scottish government said in statement.

"Removing it from use in hospital theatres across NHS Scotland saves emissions equivalent to powering 1,700 homes every year," it added.

Meanwhile, more than 40 hospital trusts in England and a number of hospitals in Wales are cutting down the usage.

The work was led by clinicians who have moved away from using desflurane to clinically appropriate and safe alternatives that have less impact on the environment.

Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care Humza Yousaf said: "I am immensely proud that we have become the first nation in the UK to stop using environmentally harmful anaesthetics in our NHS."

"Programmes like this are key to our transition to become a net-zero health service, whilst ensuring patient safety remains at the heart of every clinical decision," he added.

Kenneth Barker, clinical lead for the National Green Theatres Programme, also commented on the issue, saying: "Theatres are high carbon and energy intensive areas that produce high volumes of waste, so reducing the environmental impact of theatres will make a positive difference toward achieving Scotland's net zero targets."

"NHS Scotland has assigned an ambitious target to be net-zero for anaesthetic gases by 2027, and removal of Desflurane is just the first step towards this," he added.

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