NHS England launched a public consultation for the Reviewing of Hyperbaric Oxygen Services from 17th Jan to 14th Feb.
The proposed NHS cut in hyperbaric treatment for some non-diving conditions has a potentially significant knock-on effects for rapid and effective Decompression Illness (DCI) treatment for divers. Unfortunately, reducing the treatment for other conditions reduces the need for chambers.
They are recommending to reduce the number of NHS chambers from 10 to 8, this would mean that travel times for divers requiring rapid, emergency recompression could increase. We all hope we never need to use the services of a chamber but if we do, we don’t want a long journey before treatment can start.
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Please make sure your views as divers are heard as part of this review by completing this online survey - Reviewing Hyperbaric Oxygen Services.
Longer travel times before recompression reduce the effectiveness of treatment. Less effective initial treatment means further hyperbaric sessions, with increased cost to NHS and a greater chance of long-term damage remaining in the diver. Read the Reviewing Hyperbaric Oxygen Services: Consultation Guide for more information.
In a future scenario, if the NHS closes these chambers, then they would not be available to alternative private operators and private insurance providers (such as DAN) who divers may use to replace the current free NHS emergency service.
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