The Welsh Analytical Prescribing Support Unit (WAPSU), part of the All Wales Therapeutics and Toxicology Centre (AWTTC), has developed a dashboard to report on progress in reducing the carbon footprint of inhalers used within primary care in Wales.
The dashboard reports on several key metrics at a health board, cluster and GP practice level to support our various stakeholders in reducing the carbon footprint from inhaler use. It has officially launched and is available to all NHS staff on the Server for Prescribing Information and Analysis (SPIRA).
The dashboard also supports the implementation of the recent All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG) endorsed Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Management and Prescribing Guideline and the Asthma Management and Prescribing Guideline. In 2021, these guidelines were updated to encourage consideration of the NHS Wales Decarbonisation Strategic Delivery Plan. This includes recommending the preferential prescribing of dry powder inhalers (DPIs) rather than metered dose inhalers (MDIs) due to the significantly reduced environmental impact associated with their use.
The dashboard supports the implementation of this recommendation by enabling monitoring across Wales, and demonstrating progress in reducing the use of MDIs from more than 70% down to less than 20% by 2025; the target as set out in the Decarbonisation Strategic Delivery Plan. Whilst the focus of the dashboard is to encourage the use of low global warming potential (GWP) inhalers, patient choice is still the most important factor.
AWTTC anticipates that the dashboard will help inform a conversation between practitioners and patients around the carbon footprint of inhalers and support, where appropriate, a switching to alternative inhalers.