Single-use plastic and COVID-19 in the NHS: Barriers and opportunities.
AuthorsHu, Xiaocheng; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Davies, Roz; email: email@example.com
Morrissey, Karyn; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Smith, Richard; email: email@example.com
Fleming, Lora E; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharmina, Maria; email: email@example.com
St Clair, Rebecca; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hopkinson, Peter; email: email@example.com
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractSingle-use personal protective equipment (PPE) has been essential to protect healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, intensified use of PPE could counteract the previous efforts made by the UK NHS Trusts to reduce their plastic footprint. In this study, we conducted an in-depth case study in the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust to investigate plastic-related issues in a typical NHS Trust before, during and after the pandemic. We first collected hospital routine data on both procurement and usage of single-use PPE (including face masks, aprons, and gowns) for the time period between April 2019 and August 2020. We then interviewed 12 hospital staff across a wide remit, from senior managers to consultants, nurses and catering staff, to gather qualitative evidence on the overall impact of COVID-19 on the Trust regarding plastic use. We found that although COVID-19 had increased the procurement and the use of single-use plastic substantially during the pandemic, it did not appear to have changed the focus of the hospital on implementing measures to reduce single-use plastic in the long term. We then discussed the barriers and opportunities to tackle plastic issues within the NHS in the post-COVID world, for example, a circular healthcare model. investment is needed in technologies and processes that can recycle and reuse a wider range of single-use plastics, and innovate sustainable alternatives to replace single-use consumables used in the NHS to construct a fully operational closed material loop healthcare system.
CitationJournal of public health research
DescriptionFrom PubMed via Jisc Publications Router
History: received 2021-06-17, accepted 2021-06-24
Publication status: aheadofprint
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