Intended for healthcare professionals


Oxygen treatment at home

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 26 January 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:191
  1. G J Gibson, professor of respiratory medicine (
  1. University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU

    Will be better organised from 1 February in England and Wales

    In England and Wales (but not in Scotland) prescriptions for oxygen concentrators have until now been written by the general practitioner, usually after assessment of patients and recommendation by respiratory specialists. Concentrators are then installed in patients' homes by companies that have regional NHS contracts. Patients using oxygen cylinders rather than concentrators receive supplies from local pharmacies after prescription by their general practitioners. From next week (1 February 2006) new arrangements will apply in England and Wales.

    There will be three important improvements: all forms of home oxygen treatment will now be provided by a single supplier in each region of England and Wales after receipt of a home oxygen order form specifying the details of usage, such as flow rate and expected hours of use; ambulatory oxygen—including that supplied as liquid—will be generally available for the first time; and specialists based in hospitals will be able to order home oxygen directly. Indeed, respiratory medicine and paediatric teams will probably become the main prescribers of long term oxygen therapy and ambulatory …

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