(2) how many emergency orders for oxygen were made by each primary care trust, in each month since the implementation of the new contract.
Suppliers provide monthly data relating to a range of performance indicators, including the required delivery time for emergency orders. Emergency orders are a priority, as supply is required within four hours where a patient does not have a supply of oxygen at home. Latest information indicates that all suppliers are meeting this requirement for around 98 per cent. of orders, with reasons given where delivery is outside the target time.
Information on the number of emergency orders made by health professionals in each primary care trust area is not held centrally.
We began introduction of the new home oxygen service on 1 February 2006 with a phased transfer of patients, using this service, to new suppliers. Therefore, the new service has yet to complete a full year in operation and part of this time has involved managing the transition to the new arrangements. We are continuing to work with the national health service and all suppliers to monitor service delivery and contract performance.
Information on individual primary care trust (PCT) budgets for the new oxygen service in 2006-07 is not held centrally. The Department allocated £26.4 million to the national health service in 2006-07 to support the new oxygen service. These funds supplemented those already held in PCT baseline budgets.