NHS launches new dashboard to help cut carbon emissions from inhalers

A new dashboard that will help prescribers curb the high carbon impact of inhalers has been launched by NHS Business Services Authority.

The Respiratory – Carbon Impact Dashboard centralises easy-to-understand data, allowing users to, for example, view the levels of inhalers that produce large amounts of carbon, compared to the levels of low-carbon-producing inhalers. Prescribers will also be able to see inhalers categorised in their different types – preventers and relievers.

Developed in collaboration with clinicians form Guy’s and St Thomas’ and Imperial College Healthcare, the tool will provide health professionals with the necessary insight to enable a more comprehensive understanding of the impact of respiratory prescribing from a sustainability point of view.

The data will be available for Sub Integrated Care Board Locations, as well as at practice and Primary Care Network level. NHS Business Services Authority say the ultimate aim of the project is to monitor and promote better prescribing practice in the respiratory space.

Environment Coordinator at NHS Business Services Authority, Sam Schofield, said: “High levels of air pollution cause asthma in both children and adults. In the UK alone more than 12 million people are affected by lung conditions – with over 60 million inhalers prescribed every year. Swapping to a more environmentally friendly inhaler helps to reduce the contribution to climate change and in turn prevents worsening air pollution.”

It is estimated that approximately 3% of all carbon emitted by the NHS can be attributed to the prescribing of respiratory inhalers, with the main culprit being metered-dose inhalers which rely on aerosol propellants to deliver their chemical ingredients.

The prescribing of less impactful inhalers – such as dry powder, soft-mist or more environmentally friendly metered-dose variants – is recognised as a better approach to promote sustainability and arrest the carbon impact of respiratory prescribing, whilst avoiding negatively effecting patients.

NHS Business Services Authority Chief Executive, Michael Brodie, added: “According to the Greener NHS programme, inhalers account for about 3% of total NHS carbon emissions, which is a substantial amount when you consider transport and other sources of carbon emission.

“Across the NHS, there is a drive to reduce CO2 emissions produced by the prescribing of inhalers for respiratory conditions – in line with the NHS Long Term Plan, Greener NHS initiative, and to support the ambition for a net zero NHS. So we hope that our new Carbon Impact dashboard can help prescribers and commissioners to see the great benefits of moving to lower carbon alternatives.”

To access the new dashboard, click here.

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