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 Ben Edwards, left) Dr Alex Swann and Carla Bonev (St John of God Health Care) 

St John of God Health Care is the first Australian private health care organisation to stop purchasing Desflurane across its network of 17 hospitals to help reduce the national organisation’s carbon footprint.

Desflurane is a commonly-used anaesthetic agent but it is also one of the most harmful anaesthetics to the environment.

It has 2540 times more global warming impact than an equivalent mass of carbon dioxide.

St John of God Health Care has partnered with its anaesthetists to identify this impact and enable all specialists to switch to alternative agents which have significantly less effect on the environment. This change has already occurred in the UK’s National Health Service, and Western Australian public health without affecting patient care.

St John of God Health Care chief people officer Carla Bonev said this decision would go towards the organisation’s target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and a key step in meeting a minimum 50 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030.

“As a Catholic health care organisation, we take stewardship of our resources, including the environment, seriously, that is why we have taken the step to support our specialists and improve our sustainability by stopping the purchase and use of this agent in our hospitals,” Ms Bonev said. 

“We expect this will decrease our carbon dioxide emissions by 260 tonnes a year, while also providing some financial savings.”

St John of God Health Care chief operating officer Ben Edwards said while most anaesthetists had reduced their use of desflurane, the growing awareness of its environmental impacts and the safety of alternatives made a ban appropriate.

Desflurane will be banned for purchase within St John of God Health Care hospitals from this month. All existing stock will be used to ensure the organisation does not contribute to further waste, which is expected to take between three and six months.


Environment the big winner in national decision by St John of God Health Care (St John of God Health Care)