Surgical theatre

Successful pilot sees national roll out for sustainability scheme in NHS Scotland

The road to net zero is set for a boost in Scotland as the NHS launches a new sustainability initiative.

The National Green Theatres Programme is aiming to reduce some of the unnecessary carbon emitted during surgery while not infringing on quality of care.

Some of the first steps to be taken under the scheme include:

  • Removing anaesthetic gases from the supply chain;
  • Cutting out single-use instruments;
  • Implementing waste segregation;
  • Switching from pre-operative intravenous to oral paracetamol.

The Scottish Government believe the initial round of actions will help its health service cut out around 7,100 tonnes of carbon dioxide, which is the same as 4,400 return flights from Glasgow to New York.

CfSD clinical lead for the National Green Theatres Programme, Dr Kenneth Barker, said: “Our patients always comes first but it’s great that we are now making clinically safe patient care decisions with sustainability in mind.

“Theatres are high carbon and energy intensive areas that produce high volumes of waste, so reducing their environmental impact will make a positive difference toward achieving Scotland's net zero targets.

“We are working with our National Green Theatres Specialty Delivery Group and national partners to support Boards to implement these actions and are developing a Green Map to monitor progress.”

The national roll out follows a successful pilot in NHS Highland.

The Scottish minister for social care, mental wellbeing and sport, Maree Todd, visited one of the green theatres at Highland and added: “The roll out of the Green Theatres Programme is a very positive step in the right direction to making our NHS net zero by 2040.

“Our incredible NHS staff have worked tirelessly to develop a model that not only puts patients and their safety first, but will reduce our environmental impact.”

Website cover

NHE May/June 2024

Join the conversation shaping the future of healthcare.

Click below to read more!

More articles...

View all
Online Conference


2024 Online Conferences

In partnership with our community of health sector leaders responsible for delivering the UK's health strategy across the NHS and the wider health sector, we’ve devised a collaborative calendar of conferences and events for industry leaders to listen, learn and collaborate through engaging and immersive conversation. 

All our conferences are CPD accredited, which means you can gain points to advance your career by attending our online conferences. Also, the contents are available on demand so you can re-watch at your convenience.

National Health Executive Podcast

Listen to industry leaders on everything within healthcare

Whether it's the latest advancements in medical technology, healthcare policies, patient care innovations, or the challenges facing healthcare providers, we cover it all.


Join us as we engage with top healthcare professionals, industry leaders, and policy experts to bring you insightful conversations that matter.