The Department receives reports from all suppliers on the overall number of failed deliveries to track supplier progress by home oxygen service region. These data show evidence of continuing improvement in service delivery to the required response times.
However, the Department does not collect or hold centrally information on failed deliveries in the form requested. Suppliers are required to provide performance data on meeting delivery times directly to primary care trusts, which have responsibility for the day-to-day local management of this service.
From 1 January to 12 October 2006, the Department received 222 letters about the home oxygen service. Of these, 88 mentioned Air Products, 40 mentioned BOC Gases and 94 mentioned community pharmacy. Not all the correspondence relating to these service providers are complaints about the service provided to patients and many of these letters refer to one or more service providers.
However, problems emerged in the delivery of this service in the early days of managing the transfer of patients receiving a cylinder service from community pharmacies to new suppliers such as Air Products and BOC. We have been working closely with the NHS, including community pharmacists, and all new suppliers to address these problems. New suppliers are required to provide primary care trusts with regular data on the number of complaints as part of performance management of this service contract. The Department also receives high-level complaints data from suppliers as part of monitoring the implementation of these service changes. These data demonstrate improved action by new suppliers to reduce the numbers of complaints received.