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Oxygen advised for GP surgeries

By Nigel Praities

GPs should all have access to emergency oxygen in their surgeries so they can treat acutely ill patients while waiting for an ambulance, says the British Thoracic Society.

In the first national guideline for emergency oxygen, the BTS says GPs should aim to achieve a normal or near normal oxygen saturation for all acutely ill patients, except those at risk of hypercapnic respiratory failure.

It also recommends GPs fill out prescriptions for all emergency oxygen and issue patients at risk of hypercapnic respiratory failure with ‘oxygen alert' cards.

Dr Mark Levy, a member of the BTS working group who developed the guideline and a GP in Kenton, Middlesex, said only one in ten GP surgeries have emergency oxygen at the moment but it could prove the ‘difference between life and death' for some patients .

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