Charity Number: 279652

Photo of our Chamber Superintendent preparing for a dive at Dive Control

07 February 2018

Hyperbaric Oxygen Services – NHS Consultation

The NHS England website states:

“NHS England is responsible for planning and buying a national HBOT service as part of the portfolio of specialised commissioning. HBOT is the delivery of oxygen at a pressure greater than normal (greater than 100 kPa) so that a higher level of oxygen can be dissolved in the patient’s blood plasma. This takes place within a treatment chamber which may accommodate one or more patients and attendant staff.It is the only treatment available for decompression illness, a condition that divers are at risk of developing.  Divers with suspected decompression illness need urgent access to HBOT.It also has some other applications in treating a range of injuries, however there is not conclusive evidence of the efficacy of these applications, and the evidence for these are currently under review through the NHS England policy process.NHS England believes that this service is currently over provided, at an unnecessary cost to tax payers, and therefore propose to reduce the number of commissioned providers from ten to eight.”

At DDRC Healthcare we operate 3 chambers and so retain great versatility for the treatment of multiple injuries arriving at the unit at different times. Most English chambers do not have this facility. Some have only a single chamber thus not allowing for a second admission to be treated. We are committed to having a full on-call team 24hrs a day, every day of the year. Our high quality of care and standards for patients includes a DMAC level 2 diving physician in the building during office hours and in attendance with the on-call chamber team in emergency cases.

The consultation also questions the suitability of chamber use for elective patients. These are not divers and attend the unit for a series of daily treatments in the chamber for other conditions, e.g. Diabetic foot ulcers or radiation tissue damage. These treatments provide a key adjunctive treatment for these patients as well as maintaining the high level of training we expect of our staff working as a centre of excellence. During the winter months there may well not be any diving emergencies and elective patients benefit and contribute to our training programme for chamber staff.

The cost of running the service is largely fixed. The throughput of elective patients is very cost effective as all the infrastructure is in place for the treatment of emergencies. This not only provides patient benefit at low cost but maintains a high skill for the treatment of emergencies when they do occur.

We would like to encourage interested parties to give your views on this survey which can be found at

Thank you for your time and your input.