Creating a circular economy for medical products
The NHS is responsible for 4-5% of the carbon footprint of the country, and of that 62% is from the supply chain of products the NHS uses. One important area to tackle is widespread use of single-use products in health settings. This project will promote a circular economy for medical products wherever clinically safe to do so: that is one where products are reused wherever possible, and using sterilisation or decontamination if needed.
The barriers to a circular economy in this context relate to perceived or actual risk of infection, economic and management models that do not support reuse, and human and physical infrastructure to enable reuse.
Over three years, national guidance on infection control procedures will be designed to outline what infrastructure is needed to enable change and explore new economic models of procurement and supply. Barriers and solutions to real world change will be examined by exploring and seeking to understand knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of healthcare staff, and partnering with health organisations pioneering change.
Professionals from several fields will be consulted with throughout this project, including experts from across clinical settings, health industry, procurement and sustainability professionals, and government, as well as academics in engineering, decontamination, infection control, and carbon footprinting.