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NHS: Oxygen

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 17th March 2020.

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Photo of Daniel Poulter Daniel Poulter Conservative, Central Suffolk and North Ipswich

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the reserves of oxygen used to treat patient’s in respiratory distress at healthcare providers in England.

Photo of Tan Dhesi Tan Dhesi Labour, Slough

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of hospitals' (a) infrastructure and (b) plans to provide a consistent supply of oxygen at suitable pressures and quantities during periods of high patient demand.

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

The Department has well-established procedures to deal with supply problems affecting all medical products and supplies and work closely with industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help prevent shortages and to ensure that the risks to patients are minimised.

A product supply response group has been set up to manage supply of products and to support any response to shortages required for the COVID-19 outbreak. The group is also considering the potential mid to long-term impacts of the outbreak globally.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are conducting detailed assessments of current capability and capacity with regard to ventilation devices and capacity to deliver oxygen to patients. In addition, the Department is in dialogue with current and potential oxygen suppliers to ensure that supply/stored levels at hospital sites are increased, that the manufacture of oxygen is increased and that appropriate contingency plans are in place to maintain the oxygen supply chain.

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