NHS England has launched a public consultation for the Reviewing of Hyperbaric Oxygen Services from 17th Jan to 14th Feb. They are recommending to reduce the number of NHS chambers from 10 to 8 as part of a proposed cut in hyperbaric treatment for some non-diving conditions.
If this goes ahead, there will be potentially significant knock-on effects for rapid and effective Decompression Illness (DCI) treatment for divers. A reduction in the number of chambers would inevitably mean that travel times for divers requiring rapid, emergency recompression could increase.
Longer travel times before recompression reduce the effectiveness of treatment. Less effective initial treatment means further hyperbaric sessions, with increased cost to the NHS and a greater chance of long-term damage remaining in the diver. If chambers were to close, they would also 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. Read the Reviewing Hyperbaric Oxygen Services: Consultation Guide for more information.
Please make sure your views as divers are heard as part of this review by completing this online survey before 14 February 2018 – Reviewing Hyperbaric Oxygen Services.