Local NHS is helping to fight climate change one breath at a time

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Healthcare professionals in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes will be reviewing patients’ inhalers as the NHS continues its aim to become the first net zero carbon health care service by 2040.

Some inhalers (metered dose inhalers), which are used to treat respiratory conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), contain powerful greenhouse gases – including CO2 – and are responsible currently for three per cent of the total NHS carbon footprint.

When these greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere, they trap the sun’s heat, warming the planet and contribute to the climate change issues the Earth is facing. The current Ventolin inhalers will be changed to Salamol pMDI inhalers, which have half the carbon footprint. Their use means fewer greenhouse gases are being released into the atmosphere and reduce people’s lung risk caused by increased air pollution.

Fiona Garnett, Associate Director Medicines Optimisation, NHS Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board, said:

“Patients with any worries can be reassured that the new inhalers will work the same as the previous inhalers, they may notice that they look or taste slightly different however it’s delivering the same medication, using a similar type of device at the same dose.”

“The NHS supports the change to environmentally friendly inhalers if this is the right choice for you.  We would recommend that patients help themselves and the environment by attending their annual respiratory review and discussing ‘greener inhaler options’ with their nurse, doctor or pharmacist. 

“Patients are being asked to return their empty or unwanted inhalers to a community pharmacy for environmentally safe disposal or recycling.  Like other medicines, inhalers should not be put in with your household waste.

“If you’re worried about this change to a more environmentally-friendly inhaler, please talk with your healthcare professional who will be able to discuss any concerns you may have.”

More information can be found on the NHS website here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/blog/world-asthma-day-tackling-climate-change-and-improving-respiratory-care/

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