Sustainable Surgery

In August 2018, Miss Chantelle Rizan was appointed as the first Sustainable Surgery Fellow. An ENT surgeon, Chantelle took time out of training for a PhD, focusing on improvement the sustainable value of surgery. This balanced patient and population outcomes against the ecological, social and financial sustainability of surgery.

This surgical sustainability research included:

  • An evaluation of the national ecological sustainability of surgical services across England, using a hybrid approach (life cycle assessment + environmental input-output methodologies) This will identify opportunities to reduce waste, reuse equipment and refine processes within the operating theatre.
  • Results from the national study will inform a more granular study focusing on identified carbon hotspots and identifying areas to lean surgical services, improving financial sustainability.
  • Chantelle will also examine social sustainability through evaluating the impact of surgery on the quality of life of patients, staff, carers and communities involved in the supply chain. The latter will include an evaluation of the risk of labour rights abuses.

This post was facilitated by Health Education England.

Chantelle worked to advocate sustainable practice within surgery, developing the Sustainable Operating Theatres network, with the help of Miss Charlotte Holbrook, a paediatric surgeon at Great Ormond Street Hospital. She worked alongside key policy makers and surgical opinion shapers to disseminate research findings and instigate real world change, improving the sustainability of surgery.

Learn more about the outputs of her and other surgical fellowships here

The Green Surgery Challenge

With a supportive group of sponsors and partners, the Green Surgery Challenge was launched in 2021. Following an online event hosted by the Royal College of Surgeons England (RCSEng), teams applied to enter the Green Surgery Challenge by submitting an idea for what area of the surgical pathway their team decided to focus on to make it "greener" and more sustainable.

Five teams were selected to receive mentoring from sustainable healthcare specialists at the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare over a ten-week period in order to hone a specific question, design a project, implement the project, and measure the outcomes. The teams were encouraged to use sustainable quality improvement (SusQI) methodology to create sustainable transformation. At a high profile conference, the teams presented their projects highlighting the environmental, social, and financial impact made. The combined projects have projected annual savings of 133.4 tonnes CO2e, which is the equivalent of 38 round-trip flights from London to Hong Kong!

View the Green Surgery Challenge projects and conference recording here

Surgical Care Sustainability Network

Hosted by CSH, the Surgical Care Sustainability Network is for anyone who is interested in improving the environmental sustainability of surgical care pathways, including pre-and post-operative care, anaesthesia and operating theatres. 

Join the network

View our other Sustainable Specialties here.