June 5 is World Environment Day. Led by the United Nations Environment Programme and held annually since 1973, this day celebrates and encourages action on the climate crisis.
At BC Cancer, we are taking steps to address the climate emergency. Earlier this year, the BC Cancer Planetary Health Unit was formed with the goal of establishing low waste, low carbon health care across our centres. This group is led by diagnostic radiologist Dr. Maura Brown, radiation oncologist Dr. Shilo Lefresne, and medical oncologist Dr. Caroline Mariano, and together they work closely with staff and physicians across our centres to tackle the climate emergency.
One of the key initiatives that the team has been working on is the elimination of exam table paper. Using exam table paper does not reduce the spread of infections as the examination table is disinfected after each patient visit.
Through months of hard work and coordinated efforts, the team is excited to launch this new initiative. Rolled out at BC Cancer – Vancouver on June 1, it will implemented across other BC Cancer sites in the coming months.
"We are so pleased with the support we have had for this project. A few months ago, one of our clinicians pointed out that there is no infection control benefit to the routine use of exam table paper in our clinics, as we wipe the tables after every patient. Furthermore this contributes to waste – over 2000 km of table paper are used at BC Cancer every year,” says Dr. Caroline Mariano. “Thank you to everyone who has supported this change and thank you to our clinical, QI, and operations teams who have been a great help in making this happen."
In addition to the elimination of exam paper across BC Cancer, the BC Cancer Planetary Health Unit is working with Diagnostic Imaging to lower the power use of CT scanners, and reduce emissions from waste heat in CT. Subsequent similar projects may include MRI and CT PET. The team is also collaborating with GreenCare to improve recycling and clinical waste management across BC Cancer.
If you have any other ideas on how to improve sustainability, email firstname.lastname@example.org