‘Non-essential’ businesses including vets, dentists and rugby clubs asked to return bottled oxygen amid fears there are shortages in hospitals
- The BOC, Britain’s largest supplier of medical gases, has been recalling oxygen
- Small business have been asked to return their supplies for the NHS
- Demand for oxygen has soared following the coronavirus outbreak in the UK
- Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
‘Non-essential’ businesses have been asked to return their supplies of bottled oxygen to help avert possible shortages in hospitals.
Vets, dentists and rugby clubs have all been asked by BOC, Britain’s largest supplier of medical gases, to send return most of or all of the oxygen they have.
It comes after Watford General Hospital declared a critical incident with oxygen equipment earlier this month due to a shortage of the essential gas.
A BOC gas tanker (British Oxygen Company) makes a delivery to Dorset County Hospital on April 16
The BOC told customers they could ‘save many lives’ when they recalled the tanks, reports The Sunday Telegraph.
Small businesses across the country have sent supplies back to the company following the plea. Welsh rugby club Crown Keys told the Telegraph it had returned all of its oxygen as did a dentist in Fulham, west London.
Ashworth Vets in Yorkshire was another business to say the BOC had recalled almost all of the oxygen it had sold to the surgery.
Demand for oxygen has soared following the coronavirus outbreak in the UK, with critically ill patients being put on ventilators and offered oxygen to help them fight the virus.
It is feared many hospitals do not have the storage capacity for the amount of oxygen required leaving them facing potential shortages.
Watford General Hospital declared a critical incident at the start of this month with its supply, which was resolved with the support of neighbouring hospitals, the ambulance service and the police.
Deputy chief executive Helen Brown said: ‘We know that our NHS colleagues and the police are exceptionally busy at the moment, but this didn’t stop them stepping in to help.
‘They were quick to respond and together – as one team – we kept our site and our patients safe.’
The BOC told the Sunday Telegraph said it had ‘made proactive contact with non-NHS customers to return unwanted or slow-moving unused medical cylinders’.
It also said that this was to help stockpile oxygen to protect the company’s supply chain.