NHS Climate Change Summit 2020

Nigel Armstrong presents at the NHS Climate Change Summit

16th October 2019

On 3rd October, our Sales and Marketing Director, Nigel Armstrong, presented at the NHS Climate Change Summit in London.

The event was the first in a series of four national conferences leading up to NHS Sustainability Day 2020 (March 19).

Nigel Armstrong was invited to speak about reducing plastic waste and packaging in clinical environments due to his ongoing commitment to sustainability initiatives in the sector.

An esteemed panel of sustainability leaders from Trusts and private companies across the UK, highlighted case studies on sucessful initiatives they have implemented within their organisations.


The panel included Sonia Roschnik, Director at Sustainable Development, who spoke about how NHS England & NHS Improvement will drive carbon reduction within the NHS. Clare Nash, nurse and sustainability project lead at the Royal College Nursing, presented on ‘Small Changes, Big Differences’ discussing how to support nurses in making smarter and more sustainable procurement choices.

Dr Dan Bernie, Science Manager, UK Climate Resilience, Met Office gave an overview of climate change in the UK.

James Dixon, Head of Sustainability at Newcastle Hospitals, took the stage to discuss, ‘Our Climate Emergency Journey’ highlighting the importance of collaboration locally, nationally and globally.

Nigel Armstrong addressed the delegation with a presentation on how using the concept of “aggregation of marginal gains” and the “innovation curve” can bring confidence and deliver results.

“One of the founding principles of Armstrong Medical was to offer customised breathing circuits, a key benefit being to reduce waste – we have been doing this since 1984. In recent years, we have invested heavily in consolidating our manufacturing process in Coleraine, Northern Ireland. In 2008, 44% of our products were manufactured in Coleraine, rising to 64% in 2018. We are soon to complete further product development which will mean this figure is expected to rise to 80% in the next 18 months. Our investment will also have benefits to the environment by reducing our business’ shipping requirements.” 

Nigel went on discuss sustainable marginal gains in healthcare giving an example of a recent initiative to remove hook rings in anaesthesia face masks at Armstrong Medical.

“Since the LMA became common practice in the late 1990’s the hook ring on an anaesthetic face mask has become redundant. Weighing only 3g of plastic it may seem insignificant however Royal Cornwall Hospital in 2018 collected hook rings over a 4 week period which resulted in 6kg of waste. This would have equated to 78kg of waste per hospital per year. With our ability to customise we can increase the saving of waste from 3g to 23g per patient.”

Nigel highlighted Professor John Cotter’s publication, ‘My Iceberg is Melting’ and described how Sir David Brailsford used “Marginal Gains’ to drive success in British Cycling;

“Long-term sustainability requires a significant culture change within organisations. It will take pioneers as described in the Rogers innovation curve to lead and initiate change.”

Scott Buckler, NHS Sustainability Day Campaign Manager agrees;

“If the NHS is to deliver significant carbon savings and contribute to the net zero 2050 targets we must see a culture change. This change needs to be top-down and built upon an understanding that sustainability can deliver improvements across the NHS, its not just a nice ‘to have’ area.”

The campaign team produce an annual Sustainability Impact Report highlighting thought provoking, innovative and forward-thinking work in the sector to inspire readers.

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