Ambulance crews urged to conserve oxygen

HSJ reports that ambulance staff are being urged to conserve oxygen supplies because of a national shortage of small cylinders used both on ambulances and in some A&E departments.

South East Coast Ambulance Service Foundation Trust has told staff the shortage is caused by the high number of patients with respiratory conditions and “the suppliers are reporting that this is higher than during the first wave of the covid pandemic”.

The type of cylinder affected typically provides about 30 minutes of oxygen on full flow and is widely used on ambulances and also where patients are cohorted in A&E departments or kept in corridors waiting to be passed to hospitals, without access to the normal piped supply.

As the waiting times for patients to be handed over from ambulance to A&E have increased, so has the use of these small cylinders of oxygen.

Full story in the HSJ, 30 December 2022