The Royal Sussex County Hospital is one of the first Accident & Emergency (A&E) departments in the country to trial using reusable suture instruments to improve the service’s environmental impact.
The pilot programme started on Friday 20th January, and removes the use of single-use suture kits which are designed for stitching wounds. These kits include scissors, needle holds, toothed forceps and untoothed forceps, and once used, are put into a sharps bin and incinerated.
It is estimated that switching to reusable suture instruments will save at least 2,240 kits from the incinerator every year and will save one kilo of carbon per use. The high-quality reusable instruments are sterilised on site and stored in special boxes to protect their 15-year life span.
Hannah Webb, an Emergency Medicine Registrar, is responsible for the programme after setting up a team in A&E to address greener ways of working.
She said: “After canvassing staff opinions, there was a universal feeling that it seemed wasteful to put kits in the bin. We already knew that sterile services go through similar processes with our surgical departments, and daily in theatres, so we knew something similar would be plausible.
“We just needed to ensure that the switch would work for us as a department – so we introduced reusable suture instruments that looked and felt very different to the single-use kits, to highlight they are not to be thrown into the sharps bin.”
The trial is expected to last around four months and the team are looking forward to talking to patients about the switch.
It is not the first-time reusable instruments have been introduced at UHSussex. Reusable tourniquets were recently successfully trialled within the phlebotomy department at the Royal Sussex County Hospital.
These measures support our Trust-wide target to reduce our carbon footprint by 57% by 2025. Find out more, in the UHSussex Patient First, Planet First Green Plan.