Australia’s largest private hospitals operator hopes to inspire healthcare providers around the world to save the planet following its commitment to achieve ‘Net Zero’ greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.
Ramsay Health Care, now an international group with 530-plus facilities, has vowed to meet to science-based targets consistent with the Paris Agreement on limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
If it can do so by 2040, that would be 10 years ahead of the Australian Government’s current commitment, announced in late 2021 by former Prime Minister Scott Morrison and supported by his successor Anthony Albanese.
“Caring for our planet and being environmentally sustainable is important to our people, our patients, our doctors and our business success,” said Ramsay Health Care’s Managing Director and CEO, Craig McNally.
“We know that a healthy planet is essential for healthy communities and moving towards Net Zero ensures that Ramsay remains true to our purpose of ‘people caring for people’.”
‘Net Zero’ refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gases produced and the amount taken out of the atmosphere.
Ramsay’s Global Chief Medical Officer, Professor Sir Edward Byrne, said doctors and healthcare professionals were already dealing with the “serious health effects” of climate change.
“Global warming is exacerbating a wide range of illnesses, diseases and chronic health conditions, not to mention the impact on our mental health,” he said.
“I hope Ramsay’s action inspires other healthcare providers around the world to commit to Net Zero emissions.”
Ramsay’s Australian hospitals have made big efforts to cut waste since the group announced its sustainability strategy in December 2020.
Hollywood Private Hospital, the largest of its kind in Western Australia, has added a food-waste processing system to its array of ways to reduce its environmental footprint.
It has compressed 13,000 kilograms of leftovers to just 3,000kg of material since installing a WasteMaster system in April 2022, with the by-products sent to a biogas generator to produce green energy.
“The waste material has produced enough electricity to power 249 homes for a whole day,” Catering Manager Peter Trusler said, adding that carbon dioxide gas emissions from food waste had already been cut by 25 tonnes.
The WasteMaster accelerates decomposition by hitting the organic waste with charged oxygen molecules, reducing its weight by up to 80 percent.
The energy-dense, odour-free residual material is then turned into green electricity.
Mr Trusler said the system had created multiple benefits for the Perth hospital.
“We are not storing as much food waste on site, so there is less smell and less material to attract pests,” he said.
“There is also less pollution with fewer trucks required to collect food waste from the hospital.”
Hollywood Private Hospital is one of 16 Ramsay facilities working to create ‘greener operating theatres’ by replacing the anaesthetic gas desflurane with sevoflurane, which is 50-60 times less harmful to the Earth’s atmosphere.
It has also introduced battery and PVC recycling programs.
Another 10 of Ramsay’s 72 Australian operations have installed solar panel systems to produce renewable energy, while other emission-cutting strategies include switching to LED lights and eliminating single-use plastics across the group.
“We have seen what a big difference some small changes can make to the environment and the future of our planet,” Ramsay Health Care Australia CEO Carmel Monaghan said.