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Anaesthetic Machines

Volume 406: debated on Tuesday 10 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether there are anaesthetic machines capable of delivering hypoxic gas mixtures used in the NHS that operate without an (a) oxygen analyser and (b) antihypoxic guard. [116947]

The Medical Devices Agency (MDA) published SN2001(15) in May 2001 on "Anaesthetic Machines: Prevention of Hypoxic Gas Mixtures". This advised that all anaesthetic machines capable of delivering hypoxic gas mixtures must have a hypoxic guard fitted or use oxygen analyser with audible alarms to warn of the delivery of hypoxic gas mixtures.As a follow up to this safety notice, in October 2001, Sir Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and Dr. David Jefferys, Chief Executive of MDA, wrote joint letters to chief executives of trusts and regional directors of public health requesting that they report back on how the actions recommended in the safety notice had been implemented. By 31 October 2002, all 5,843 anaesthetic machines in national health service hospitals in England complied with the safety notice by having either an anti-hypoxic guard or an oxygen analyser with alarms.We do not centrally hold records of the number of anaesthetic machines which have both the guard and the analyser as this information was not required in either the safety notice or CMO/MDA joint letter.