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    In 2020 the NHS in England set a target of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2040. Progress has already been made towards this goal, with substantial reductions in the use of environmentally harmful anaesthetic gases, such as desflurane, in recent years. Where an effective replacement already exists, changing practice to use low carbon alternatives is relatively easy to achieve, but much greater challenges lie ahead. The Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme is a clinically-led, data-driven clinical improvement initiative with a focus on reducing unwarranted variation in clinical practice and patient outcomes. Reducing unwarranted variation can improve patient care and service efficiency, and can also support the drive to net zero. In this article we set out what the GIRFT programme is doing to support sustainable healthcare in England, why it is uniquely positioned to support this goal and what the future challenges, barriers, enablers and opportunities are likely to be in the drive to net zero. © 2024 Association of Anaesthetists.

    Citation

    M van Hove, J B John, E Ojelade, F Ayyaz, J Koris, J Frame, M Swart, C Snowden, T W R Briggs, W K Gray. Unwarranted variation and the goal of net zero for the NHS in England: exploring the link between efficiency working, patient outcomes and carbon footprint. Anaesthesia. 2024 Mar;79(3):284-292

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    PMID: 38205537

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