Lakeside Healthcare, which runs three doctors’ surgeries in Northamptonshire, is encouraging patients in the county to switch to dry powder inhalers to help save the planet this World Asthma Day.
Switching patients with asthma from a pressurised metered-dose inhaler (pMDI) to a dry powder inhaler (DPI) will reduce the carbon footprint of treatment without worsening symptoms, according to research by the University of Manchester.
According to figures from Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation, collectively known as Asthma + Lung UK, there are an estimated 5.4 million people with asthma in the UK. Although some of these may grow out of the condition, around half will use an inhaler regularly.
In the UK, roughly 70% of all inhalers prescribed are metered dose inhalers (pMDIs) and most of these are Salbutamol. pMDIs contain very potent greenhouse gases called hydrofluorocarbons, which are more harmful to the planet than carbon dioxide.
Overall, around 4% of the NHS’s entire carbon footprint comes from asthma drugs.
Dr Rosaline West, GP Partner at Lakeside Healthcare and Chair of Greener Practice Northamptonshire, feels particularly passionate about educating those with asthma and letting them know that there are more environmentally friendly options available to them that are just as effective at treating the condition.
Dr West said: “I’m really keen to share this information about switching to Dry Powder Inhalers because it has so many benefits and we’re just at the beginning of a really positive shift, as the NHS works to eventually become carbon neutral.
“Many CCGs are now advising that DPIs should now be the first choice for newly diagnosed asthma patients, and they should be offered at annual reviews.
“First and foremost, DPIs can benefit patients by offering them a device that delivers the medication to their lungs more reliably and therefore improves their asthma control. Not only that, but by reducing the toxic emissions from inhalers, we can improve air quality, which also benefits asthma sufferers and everyone’s overall health.
“The positive impact that making these switches has on the environment is something that I am passionate about as it provides an opportunity for us to reduce the impact that the NHS and healthcare in general has on climate change.”
This new guidance is endorsed by the RCGP, NHSE, Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation.
To find out more, go to https://www.greenerpractice.co.uk/ or speak to your GP practice.