Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Editor's Choice

What’s your carbon reduction strategy?

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 26 March 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1272

Rapid Response:

A sample strategy that's working

In 2005 the Manx government set its Health Service the target of a
reduction in carbon emissions by 2010. This included patient transport
services. The Estates Management Team took up the lead role. When I
recently I was shown the figures: in the year 2004/5 the Health Service
used 55
million kwH of gas, oil and electricity. But last year (2007/8) this was
down to 46
million kwH, a reduction of 16% already.

The team put their success down to a number of features: support from

politicians and staff, the Carbon Trust, and good cost/benefit analyses of

technical fixes. Solutions included a new combined heat and power unit in
Nobles Hospital, variable fan speeds to ensure optimal ventilation flows,
optimising systems which compute when to turn heating on and off to get
rooms to the correct temperatures at only the required times, log books
each building with monthly consumption figures by staff, automatic switch
devices where possible, and draught and insulation assessment of buildings

which fall outside expected energy consumption. They even have a plant
biodiesel from the waste cooking oils. It seems initial gains can be quick
cost effective but for the major gains radical restructuring of transport,

procurement and energy generation will still be vital. It would indeed be
ironic if
we, the NHS, were a major contributor to future health disasters by our

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

27 March 2009
Graham LG McAll
General Medical Practitioner
Devonshire Green Medical Centre, 126 Devonshire Street, Sheffield, S11 7LU