University of Melbourne new lab tackles pressing challenge of healthcare sustainability

University of Melbourne new lab tackles pressing challenge of healthcare sustainability

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Pallavi Pathak
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New Delhi, Updated on Jul 9, 2024 18:39 IST

A virtual laboratory University of Melbourne-led Healthcare Carbon Lab will measure the medical equipment creation, use and disposal impact on the environment.

University of Melbourne new lab tackles pressing challenge of healthcare sustainability

A new virtual laboratory has been set up at the University of Melbourne - the Healthcare Carbon Lab. The primary task of the lab is to accelerate sustainable solutions by gathering insights into the healthcare industry’s environmental footprint.

Professor Jane Gunn AO, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences and Sunbury MP Josh Bull, CEO of Western Health Professor Russell Harrison were present at the launch event.

The lab is all set to measure the costs of medical equipment and common single-use items compared to reusable alternatives. It will also measure the environmental impact of the healthcare industry. Dentistry and Health Sciences, Associate Professor Forbes McGain and Project lead and Associate Dean of Healthcare Sustainability in the Faculty of Medicine said the new lab will track and calculate the environmental impact in terms of energy for use, creation and disposal of medical equipment.

“It is well-documented Australia’s healthcare system contributes 7% of Australia’s carbon emissions, but what we need is more of the data to be able to understand how we can make better, more sustainable choices while keeping patient care front of mind. As an example, just one load of a hospital steam steriliser uses as much energy as a day’s total energy use for a four-person Victorian household. And now consider that each steriliser is on all day. There is growing impetus for change, and the Healthcare Carbon Lab will help inform healthcare sustainability as we tackle the broader problem of reducing waste and carbon emissions from our hospital system," Associate Professor McGain said.

"The University values its collaborations with hospital and industry partners which allow us to accelerate the translation of research into much-needed sustainable solutions. This multi-disciplinary team of healthcare workers and researchers are addressing the problems of healthcare waste and carbon emissions,” said Professor Gunn.

This leads to excessive waste, both financially and environmentally, and contributes to high carbon healthcare,” he said.

“We’ve shown that it is possible to implement sustainable solutions while continuing to deliver quality patient care and comfort for healthcare workers. This is a truly exciting opportunity to look at how we can be more sustainable in the healthcare sector," stated Professor Harrison.

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Pallavi Pathak
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With over 11 years of dedicated experience in the field of Study Abroad consulting and writing, Pallavi Pathak stands as a seasoned expert in providing compelling news articles and informative pieces tailored to the... Read Full Bio

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