Dr Tom Pierce

Dr Tom Pierce
Environmental Advisor to the President

Dr Pierce is a Fellow of the College, and is a Cardiac Anaesthetist at University Hospital Southampton. He has been the Environmental Adviser to the President since 2013 when the role was created, alongside his longstanding role as a College Examiner.

Dr Pierce is involved with national initiatives in UK relating to sustainability and perioperative medicine and care pathways, and he has published on a wide range of subjects relating to the environmental impact of anaesthesia.

Since the role of Environmental Advisor to the President was created, it has evolved to include education activities and fostering links with other environmental and medical organisations. This includes: the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare; the Sustainable Development Unit, the UK Health Alliance for Climate Change where he is a Council member; Healthcare without Harm (Europe); the Association of Anaesthetists Environment and Sustainability Committee where he is the College representative; and up to 2018, the College representative on the British Lung Foundation’s ‘Taskforce for Lung Health’.

Dr Pierce has worked tirelessly with College committee members to incorporate sustainability into both the curriculum review and GPAS.

In his role as Environmental Advisor to the President, Dr Pierce has given a range of presentations at UK and international conferences. Examples of some (but not all), are detailed below:

  • Portugese Society of Anesthesiology – 2019 Congress, presentation on ‘The path to sustainable anaesthesia’
  • CleanMedEurope 2018 – Europe's leading conference on sustainable healthcare. Dr Pierce gave three presentations:
    • The history and development of the delivery of inhaled anaesthetic gases
    • Greening the operating room and the particular importance of electricity use and anaesthetic gases
    • The carbon footprint of the clinical care pathway for DC cardioversion and the influence of the type of anticoagulant.

Dr Pierce has led the way looking at the carbon footprint of anaesthetic gases. In 2013, the Sustainable Development Unit (an arms length body of the Department of Health) published a report, Carbon Footprint from Anaesthetic gas use. It showed that a number of anaesthetic gases had been identified as potent greenhouse gases, and that 5 per cent of the carbon footprint for acute organisations is from anaesthetic gases. Following the publication of this report, in 2014, Dr Pierce created a CO2e and cost calculator of inhalational anaesthesia. The calculator allows comparison of both financial cost and carbon dioxide equivalence (CO2e) of inhalational anaesthesia.

In 2018, NHS England published the Long Term Plan, which gave a commitment to a 2 per cent reduction in the NHS’s carbon footprint 'delivered through transforming anaesthetic practices'. Dr Pierce is part of the joint group that will be taking this work forwards.