What will kidney care look like in 10 or 15 years’ time, when carbon rationing is re-shaping the NHS? Will patients still travel three times a week to access dialysis, or cover hundreds of miles to transplant clinic? Will they have greater responsibility for their own care? Will wastewater be flushed down the drain, or carefully conserved for secondary and tertiary use? Will discarded bottles, packaging and dialysis lines still go uncounted?
The Green Nephrology Network brings together patients, clinicians, renal technicians, industry partners, managers - anyone interested! - to share ideas and resources for sustainable kidney care.
It is supported by the work of the Green Nephrology Programme, a partnership between the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare, the Renal Association, the British Renal Society, NHS Kidney Care, the NHS Sustainable Development Unit, the National Kidney Federation, and the Association of Renal Industries. Read more about the history of the programme below.
Where it all began... Green Nephrology Summit 2009
The Green Nephrology Programme began on 25 February 2009 with the first Green Nephrology Summit (sponsored by Baxter Healthcare) - a day of discussion, learning and planning, which explored a new vision for kidney care in the future, and brought together a group of individuals committed to transforming the service for sustainability – including the National Clinical Director for Kidney Care, Donal O’Donoghue. Areas addressed included commissioning and Payment By (sustainable!) Results, teleclinics, home or near-patient treatments, partnership with suppliers, and best practice in reducing waste from around the country.
Green Nephrology Fellowships
In 2009, NHS Kidney Care generously funded a one-year Fellowship for a Specialist Trainee in renal medicine to work full time on establishing the programme. The first Green Nephrology Fellow, Dr Andy Connor, was seconded to the Campaign for Greener Healthcare (now the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare) in September 2009. In Autumn 2010, he handed over to the second fellow, Dr Tara Collidge. Through the Fellowships, they have led the field in defining what is meant by sustainable healthcare and how we can work towards it. They have developed skills and experience in:
- Modelling of carbon output of healthcare
- Service redesign
- Quality improvement in healthcare
- Leadership and personal development
- Lean thinking
Outputs from Green Nephrology are viewed as groundbreaking in the field of sustainable healthcare and have been published in a number of peer-reviewed medical journals, including Nephron International, the Quarterly Journal of Medicine and Haemodialysis International.
If you would like to find out more, you can download the Summary Report from 2009-10 here.
Leadership shown by the Green Nephrology partners has already been important in raising awareness and generating momentum for improving the sustainability of kidney care. Both the British Renal Society and the Renal Association have adopted sustainability policies, pledging to improve their own environmental impacts. NHS Kidney Care is making sustainability a priority across its programmes, and examining opportunities for integrating it into commissioning of renal services.
“Sustainability is the seventh dimension of quality of care, alongside safety, timeliness, effectiveness, efficiency, equity, and patient experience. It is important to realise that working to improve sustainability will seldom be in conflict with the other dimensions; in particular, low carbon healthcare is likely to improve cost efficiency and patient empowerment.”
Dr Charlie Tomson, President Elect, Renal Association
Over 80% of local kidney units have now put forward a Green Nephrology Local Representative. These have helped by taking part in the national sustainability surveys, raising awareness in their units, and initiating green projects. The Local Reps have also helped one another by sharing their experiences via contributing to the online network and producing case studies.
“Remember to see double! Double siding printed documents will significantly reduced paper consumption, having a positive effect on your carbon footprint whilst allowing you to reap the financial rewards. Within our Dialysis Unit we have reduced our paper consumption by 75% and saved a massive £140 per annum”
Libby Critchley, Deputy Ward Manager, Dialysis Unit& Green Nephrology Local Representative, Countess of Chester Hospital