The Victorian Renal Health Clinical Network is going green!

December 22 2015

Did you know that nephrology practice, particularly dialysis, is one of the most energy and resource intensive treatments in current day medicine?

Studies have measured the environmental impact of renal care and nephrology, highlighting the following:

  • Weekly power requirement of a single haemodialysis system is equal to the weekly power requirement of an average Australian 4 person home
  • 2.5 kg of consumables/Rx (1)
  • 390 kg/person/ yr vs. municipal waste generation of 660kg / person /yr (2)
  • 500 L/Rx vs. average Australian daily per capita domestic use of 160L (3)

Change is possible though……

In the United Kingdom (U.K.) in 2009, a Green Nephrology Network was established comprising clinicians, renal technicians, industry partners and patients (4). Since its inception, this group has made impressive transformations in the sustainability of kidney care , reporting annual savings to health services of 470 million litres of water, 11,000 t CO2 -eq of greenhouse gases and £7 million (5).

The VRHCN recognises that good healthcare is not just about providing good clinical care, it is also about protecting the health of our planet for future generations. Responding to concerns about the environmental impact of providing renal services, the VRHCN has recently formed the Environmental Sustainability Special Interest Group (ESSIG).

The ESSIG is the first state-wide group specifically focusing on improving sustainability practices in renal facilities. The ESSIG’s aims to explore opportunities to reduce the environmental impact of providing renal care, whilst maintaining clinical best-practice and maintaining or improving economic viability.

The ESSIG members come from a diverse background including a medical, nursing, academia and industry. All come with a passion for ensuring that we not only provide the best quality care for our patients, but that we do this in such a way that protects the health of our planet both now and for future generations.

 

References:

  1. Centre for Sustainable Healthcare, 2015
  2. Agar JW, 2014
  3. ibid
  4. Centre for Sustainable Healthcare, 2015
  5. Connor A, Milne S, Owen A, Boyle G, Mortimer F, Stevens P, 2010

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