Scuba divers now have an extra month to share their views in a review of hyperbaric oxygen chambers by NHS England.
The initial 30 day public consultation was opened on 15 January by NHS England to review Hyperbaric Oxygen Services and was scheduled to close on 14 February, 2018.
The closing date for the consultation has now been extended to 16 March, 2018.
NHS England believes that this service is currently over provided at an unnecessary cost to tax payers, and is proposing to cut down the number of chambers from ten to eight.
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 these chambers.
The British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC), the National Governing Body for sport of scuba diving in the UK, has formally responded to the proposal, is ‘against the reduction’ and ‘has called for an increase in the number of chambers to ensure sufficient coverage is obtained.’
BSAC’s Chief Executive Mary Tetley said in a news post on the BSAC website: “There is already a lack of current nationwide coverage, in particular in the north of England, which highlights an existing issue with capacity. Reducing the number of chambers even further could lead to a delay in essential treatment for a diver with DCI.
“Longer travel times before recompression reduce the effectiveness of treatment, increasing the chance of long-term damage to the diver, or in the worst cases, an unnecessary fatality. This is not an acceptable risk and we urge NHS England to reconsider.”
BSAC has worked with the British Hyperbaric Association, British Divers Safety Group (BDSG), Diving Diseases Research Centre (DDRC) and the London Chambers (London Hyperbaric and London Diving Chamber), to draw up its response.