St George’s Hospital pioneer new ‘green’ technology for dental patients

Dental patients and women in labour at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are set to benefit from a new “catalytic converter of gas and air”, which will not only reduce pain for those patients but on the planet as well.

Entonox is produced when nitrous oxide is regularly combined with oxygen, which gives patients relief during emergency and dental procedures. The new device will convert nitrous oxide, which has almost 300 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, to harmless gases.

St George’s Hospital are the first in the UK to trial their mobile nitrous oxide conversion unit in a dental department, joining their endoscopy and birth unit in using the technology.

Dr Emma Evans, South West London Clinical Lead for Net Zero and Consultant Anaesthetist at St George’s, said: “Patients won’t experience any difference in their clinical care and how they receive pain relief remains the same, but after its use, it will be disposed of through the device to breakdown the gas to be more environmentally friendly.

“After trialling mobile devices in the dental, endoscopy and midwifery led birth units, we will scope out the potential for a central system to service a larger number of clinical areas too, to further reduce our overall carbon footprint.”

This is the second time St George’s have pioneered in their sustainability strategy, after they became the first Trust in the UK to decarbonise their patient menu last year.

Kate Slemeck, Managing Director for St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “These devices eliminate 99% of the nitrous oxide that is released into the environment and their implementation plays a small but very important part in our overall green plan, paving the way for us to reduce our emissions.

“We all have a role to play in tackling climate change and St George’s is committed to playing its part in making the NHS the world’s first net zero health service.”

The team at St George’s Hospital have a range of other sustainability initiatives running at the moment, including using recycled surgical instruments and items in operating theatres, and a combined heat and power plant on the site, which provides excess renewable energy back to the National Grid.

More information about the project and St George’s Hospital in general is available here.

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