The NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Global Surgery

Improving surgical outcomes through collaborative research

The importance of tackling climate change has been recognised globally, with countries aiming to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. This cannot be achieved without limiting carbon emissions in healthcare, which represent 25% of public sector emissions in the UK. Theatre is one of the most energy-intensive areas in the hospital and must be addressed when talking about net-zero healthcare. The Green Surgery team aims to deliver high impact, pragmatic research in environmentally sustainable surgery, and to raise awareness on the urgent need for sustainability in healthcare with dissemination events and training courses.

Green Surgery Research


Multicentre non-inferiority cluster randomised trial testing Disposable versus Reusable drApes and Gowns for green OperatiNg theatres

The World Health Organisation makes no recommendation for the use of disposable or reusable surgical drapes and gowns due to a lack of effectiveness evidence. Since disposable versions are likely to have higher financial and carbon costs, they are only justifiable if they can be proven to significantly reduce surgical site infections (SSIs).

This randomised controlled trial will assess whether reusable surgical drapes and gowns are non-inferior in reducing SSI compared to disposable drapes and gowns in patients undergoing surgery.

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Research For Greener Surgery Conference 2023

This one-day conference aims to engage clinical and non-clinical staff, members of the industry and a wide range of other stakeholders. Ideas, research and innovation in sustainable surgery will be discussed, with emphasis on ongoing research projects and training opportunities.


Bringing together surgeons, researchers and policy makers to set the local research agenda according to patient need in LMIC and ensuring all patients have the opportunity to take part in our research.