The Western Australian State Committee of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons acknowledges the efforts of the Sustainable Development Unit in developing the discussion paper and we thank you for the opportunity to participate in the consultation process.

The effects of climate change are already impacting on the health of individuals across the world. Counter-intuitively, the health sector itself represents a significant source of pollution and is a major contributor to national carbon emissions world-wide. In Australia it is estimated that health care in contributes to seven per cent of the entire country’s carbon emissions, with around half of this contribution coming from hospitals alone.

Environmental sustainability is one of RACS’ key advocacy priorities. Due to being one of the most resource-intensive areas of the hospital, strategies which target the operating theatre have the potential to have the highest impact within the health-care industry. RACS is committed to working with the Government and the Unit to ensure that the strategy initiatives which reduce the impact that surgical practice has on the environment, while also ensuring patient safety or quality of care is not compromised.