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Clinical waste provides a very visual reminder of the wider environmental impact of healthcare. In Spring 2020, inspired by the ongoing work within Oxford Medical School to include sustainability as a cross-curricular theme, the Oxford Medical School Clinical Skills team and students developed methods to reduce the waste generated by the clinical skills laboratory.

Clinical Waste

The group has developed methods to clean, repackage, and re-use all the non-sharp clinical equipment used on manikins in the clinical skills laboratory, resulting in an estimated 247kg of equipment being diverted from clinical waste annually. This equates to an estimated reduction in annual spending on clinical equipment of more than £14,000.

There is still room for further development, but the project has already achieved impacts beyond just reducing the amount waste produced, inspiring many and varied conversations during clinical skills lab teaching sessions about the wider environmental impact of single use equipment in healthcare.

Sarah Peters, a member of the project team and medical student, commented: “We are excited that this publication will now allow our methods to be implemented on a much wider scale and allow others to build on the work that we have done.”

Read a full write-up of the work in the Journal of Climate Change and Health.

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