The European Society of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care (ESAIC) Glasgow Declaration on Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care (EGD) was officially signed today during the inauguration of the Exhibition at #EA23 the Dear Green Place. This marks a monumental moment in healthcare history. 


The European Union (EU) is dedicated to addressing climate change. The European Green Deal initiative sets out the goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050 and reducing emissions by 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. In addition, the EU is introducing regulations to reduce the use of fluorinated gases (F-gases), which contribute to around 2.5% of the EU's total greenhouse gas emissions. 


The healthcare sector's greenhouse gas emissions increased from 4.9% in 2018 to 5.2% in 2019 globally. In the healthcare sector, various sources contribute to these emissions. In England, inhaled anaesthetic agents are responsible for around 2% of the total emissions from the healthcare system. Healthcare also contributes to waste generation, with up to 4.2% of a nation's waste attributed to the sector, and operating rooms alone producing approximately 20% of a hospital's waste. Given these factors, the field of anaesthesiology and intensive care has a crucial role in reducing the carbon footprint of healthcare systems and promoting environmental sustainability.


This Declaration emphasises the urgency of taking swift action towards environmental sustainability in anaesthesiology and intensive care. It provides a collective European perspective on feasible and attainable goals, draws upon the Helsinki Declaration for Patient Safety, and serves as a guiding document for European countries to incorporate into their healthcare strategies.


The Declaration primarily focuses on three key areas with the potential for significant progress in terms of environmental sustainability: medication use, energy use, and circularity in processes and waste management. These areas are crucial for achieving sustainable practices within anaesthesiology and intensive care.


Climate change represents a critical challenge for this generation, and it is important to acknowledge the role everyone can play in this environmental crisis. The Declaration empowers European anaesthesiologists and intensive care physicians to advocate for sustainability measures and to be able to inspire and persuade health authorities, politicians, policymakers, and stakeholders to adopt and implement sustainable approaches in healthcare. 


Source: Euroanaesthesia 2023; European Journal of Anaesthesiology

Image Credit: ESAIC 

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