NHS hospitals are running out of oxygen due to a surge in patients being treated in corridors, medics have warned.
Ambulances, accident and emergency departments both rely on portable canisters to help treat patients.
But a shortage of beds has meant Britons coming to the emergency department are being treated in cupboards and corridors, meaning these portable devices are needed elsewhere.
Leading oxygen supplier BOC said there are five types of cylinders that are now being rationed, the Telegraph reported.
They are only exchanged “full or empty”.
Doctors said there had been shortages since the Christmas season, adding it was more due to where patients are being treated than a supply issue.
The Doctors Association UK (DAUK) said the shortages had become a common occurrence, putting patients’ lives at risk.
“We’ve heard from several doctors in different regions about oxygen shortages,” said Dr. Matt Kneale, co-chair of the organization.
A doctor in southern England said her hospital had run out of oxygen for A&E patients because so much oxygen was being used in the corridors.
The East of England Ambulance Service also warned of shortages, saying demand is now higher than it was during the coronavirus pandemic.
dr Adrian Boyle, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, oxygen problems are preventing patients from getting the treatment they need.
“This is about people being treated in inappropriate areas, stuck in corridors and in the back of ambulances.
“There is no problem with supply lines, this is about where patients need to be treated. This is another example of our failure to provide people with the care they need.”
A&E departments are currently overwhelmed and Britons are suffering from respiratory problems.
Latest NHS figures show there are 9,459 hospitalized patients with Covid and 4,128 with flu.
The total of 13,587 represents 13 percent of all available ward beds – one in eight.
Speaking to The Sun, GP Dr. Sarah Jarvis, clinical director at patientaccess.com, healthcare has “never seen anything like it.”
She warned that Covid “is not over yet” and said the NHS needs more funding to function properly.
“These issues are not just about flu or Covid, they are about the NHS as a whole.
“In terms of the NHS, it’s like a war zone in A&E,” she said.
dr Tom Jefferson of the University of Oxford and co-author of the Trust the Evidence blog said the problems are difficult to fix.
“I was a GP 20 years ago and the issues we had there weren’t addressed, it’s not just about throwing money at it.
“There was also a ‘winter crisis’ and the quick fix is to throw money at it, but you have to look at the governance structure of the NHS, which is really the aim of the health service,” he said.
An A&E doctor reported anonymously to a local group in Cheshire and said he saw elderly patients with falls coming in and being forced to sit in chairs for 18 hours.
They added that other patients have sat in their urine for hours as there are no staff and no rooms to change.
In a statement, the NHS said: “While there is no shortage of oxygen, the NHS sees a significant demand for portable oxygen due to the increasing number of patients suffering from respiratory viruses such as influenza and Covid-19.
“Local areas are making the most efficient use of existing supplies while national suppliers are working with the NHS to meet increased demand – anyone in need of care should not hesitate to contact the NHS as usual.”
https://www.the-sun.com/health/7060361/nhs-hospitals-running-out-oxygen-patients-corridors/ Urgent warning as NHS hospitals are running out of oxygen due to surge of patients treated in corridors and cupboards