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Frontline Updates - Solstice Thoughts

Frontline Updates - Solstice Thoughts
By Eco Medics • Issue #22 • View online
Good afternoon all you delightful humans!
Well done! Shortest day of the year - tick!
“The standard you walk passed is the standard you accept” - David Morrison
I’ve been thinking about this line a lot since it came up frequently at a course I recently attended. For the most part, I agree. I expended considerable energy carting bin bags around the Omani desert because I couldn’t stand to see the level of plastic waste littering an otherwise gorgeous landscape. And it was great when other people in the party joined the cause. But I have a confession to make - I don’t get it right all the time. I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to lead by example, but life gets in the way for all of us. Burnout, stress and other responsibilities affect the way we engage with the issues of climate change and healthcare waste.
As we approach the end of what has been another challenging year for healthcare and the climate, I just want to remind you all that you’re amazing people just for the fact that you care.
Thank you, and let’s keep going.

Planetary health is going to be included in the RCGP curriculum! It’s never great to mandate people to learn about a topic, but you know what? Good. Everyone does need to know. There are millions of people who are pre-contemplative about climate change, and we need to swiftly get as many people as possible through contemplation to (climate) action. Looking forward to having some climate questions in the AKT one of these days.
Also, big ups to Students for Global Health Liverpool, Leeds Healthcare Students for Climate Action and Manchester Eco Medics Society for organising a Sustainable Healthcare Series to kick-off 2022.
A Note On Waste
A reminder that every packaged purchase you make creates a problem for someone else. Let’s take a look at the recycling myth.
In better news, the latest PPE guidance explicitly states that, whilst masks remain universal, gloves and aprons can be used selectively.
From the guidance:
6.5.2 Disposable gloves
Gloves are not an alternative to hand hygiene. Inappropriate use of gloves, including not changing them as recommended above, risks the gloves contributing to the transfer of infectious agents and cross infection.
Gloves are not required unless exposure to blood and/or other body fluids, non-intact skin or mucous membranes is anticipated or likely.
6.5.3 Aprons and gowns
Disposable plastic aprons must be worn to protect staff uniform or clothes from contamination when providing direct patient care for patients with suspected or confirmed respiratory infection and during environmental and equipment decontamination.
6.5.7 Summary of PPE required for direct care of patients with suspected or confirmed respiratory infection
If there is no direct contact with the patient or their environment, gloves and aprons/gowns are not required.
The misuse of gloves is a particular bugbear of mine. There has never been any evidence to support the use of gloves for clinical procedures/examinations during which contamination with bodily fluids is not expected. Anecdotally, I have seen colleagues work an entire ED shift without washing hands, instead relying on single-use gloves - this is counterproductive! A nice little piece of evidence here: “The dirty hand in the latex glove”: a study of hand hygiene compliance when gloves are worn.
Eco Swaps
I think this a good opportunity to punt our reusable, fluid resistant Type IIR, CE-marked facemasks (again). Please encourage your colleagues to climb aboard.
The Recovery is a new podcast series from Cochrane Sustainable Healthcare and the BMJ, as recommended by our friends over at Green Impact.
Calculate Your Carbon Footprint
New subscriber or haven’t used the calculator yet? Take our 5 minute quiz to find out!
After taking the test, make a few pledges to reduce your carbon footprint, and then have the opportunity to carbon offset the rest in Gold Standard approved projects.
Merry Merry!
Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, we hope you have a long weekend filled with family and/or friends, compassion, kindness and reflection.
Sending festive love,
Dave and the Eco Medics family
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Eco Medics

We're Eco Medics, a small group of healthcare professionals from the UK on a mission to make healthcare sustainable. Every couple of weeks, we write a newsletter about what we've been up to along with some thoughts on how best to look after our planet, both at home and at work.

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