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Oxygen deadline put back

The Government has pushed back the deadline for ending prescribing of oxygen cylinders on FP10.

Oxygen was originally to have been removed from the drug tariff at the end of July, but pharmacists will now continue to be reimbursed for cylinders for the foreseeable future, NHS Primary Care Contracting has said.

The organisation insisted it was on track to complete the transfer of oxygen supplies to private contractors by the end of July as intended ­ but the Government seems determined to avoid a repeat of the chaos

at the start of the handover

period.

Transferring patients from local pharmacists to centralised oxygen providers earlier this year led to a meltdown with new suppliers unable to cope with demand. Pharmacists had to step in to plug the gap.

A spokesperson for NHS Primary Care Contracting told Pulse: 'We're certainly on track but the Department of Health just felt they must keep this route open for the moment.'

But the department insisted all patients would eventually be supplied by private providers under the new system.

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