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Carbon Monoxide: Poisoning

Volume 485: debated on Thursday 18 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to (a) raise awareness of and (b) prevent further deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning. (244510)

The Department is committed to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning among the public and medical profession and to help prevent deaths and injuries caused by CO poisoning.

The Department's ‘Think CO’ awareness campaign, which supported the national 'carbon monoxide awareness week' on 17-23 November 2008, urged general practitioners, accident and emergency consultants and community nurses to ‘Think CO’ when patients present with specific symptoms.

This included an updated joint letter from the chief medical officer, Liam Donaldson, and chief nursing officer, Christine Beasley, which was sent to every general practitioner and emergency physician in England, with an updated national health service public information leaflet. A wide range of other key stakeholders were also sent these resources. A diagnostic flowchart is also being prepared by the Health Protection Agency.

The letter and NHS leaflet are available at: DepartmentLeaders/ChiefMedicalOfficer/CMOLetters/index.htm

Copies have been placed in the Library.

The December 2008 CMO winter update, which is sent to all doctors registered with the General Medical Council in England, also highlighted the 'Think CO' campaign and the need to raise awareness and consider CO in differential diagnoses. This is available at:

A copy has been placed in the Library.

Other steps include supporting patient groups with Section 64 grants, including CO advice in various departmental publications and the commissioning of research.